CHP cruiser bursts into flames Sunday night


Officer David Hotea was able to get out of the burning car, but firefighters were prevented from putting out the blaze right away because live rounds from weapons inside the car were discharging, CHP Officer Eric Hohmeister said.

The crash happened around 8:25 p.m. as Hotea was driving north on Highway 101 at 70 to 75 mph just north of the Wolfback Ridge Road overcrossing in Sausalito, Hohmeister said.

He was on his way to assist another CHP officer who was conducting a DUI investigation when the back of his car began sliding to the right and he lost control.

The car crossed into the fast lane and struck the concrete center median, then overturned at least once before landing on its wheels and skidding back across all lanes, Hohmeister said.

It then struck a guardrail on the right shoulder, causing the front air bags to deploy, Hohmeister said. The back of the patrol car spun counterclockwise, and the car came to rest facing the wrong way on the road's shoulder.

A fire started in the car's engine compartment and spread to the rest of the vehicle, but Hotea was able to get out on the driver's side before the flames engulfed the car, Hohmeister said.

Hotea suffered abrasions and complained of pain, and was taken to Marin General Hospital, Hohmeister said.

The highway was shut down in both directions because of the crash and fire, but the roadway was cleared by 9:40 p.m.

The CHP is still investigating what caused the car to slide before the crash.

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