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Driver Flees Burning Wreckage In Healdsburg Solo Vehicle Crash, Leaving Injured Passengers Inside

HEALDSBURG (CBS SF) -- A 20-year-old driver was arrested after crashing his vehicle just outside Healdsburg and fleeing on foot, leaving his four injured passengers inside the burning wreckage, the California Highway Patrol said Monday.

The California Highway Patrol said the crash involving a solo vehicle happened at around 9:50 p.m. at Old Redwood Highway and Eastside Road. Officers arrived to find a Dodge Dart on its side with smoke and fire coming from the engine compartment.

As officers ran to the vehicle and began putting out the fire, the driver climbed out of the broken windshield and ran away, leaving his four passengers inside the vehicle, the CHP said.

The preliminary investigation showed the Dart was heading northbound on Old Redwood Highway and ran a stop sign at Eastside Road, collided into a concrete wall, and rolled onto its side.

Two of the passengers were unresponsive after suffering major injuries and the other two suffered moderate injuries. The driver, identified as 20-year-old Joel Mendez Santiago, was found by Sonoma County Sheriff's deputies, taken back to the scene and arrested.

After being medically cleared, deputies booked Santiago into the Sonoma County Jail on charges of felony DUI, felony hit-and-run, and driving without a license.

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