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Teen Dead In Novato Crash, Driver Arrested For DUI

NOVATO (KCBS / CBS 5 / BCN) -- A Novato teen was arrested for felony DUI Friday afternoon following a fatal car accident in which his 15-year-old passenger was killed, the California Highway Patrol said.

The 16-year-old suspect was driving four passengers west on Novato Boulevard, west of San Marin Drive, around 11:50 a.m. Friday when he lost control of his 1990 BMW while going around a curve, the CHP said. The boy was apparently speeding.

"The BMW was traveling westbound and the semi truck was traveling eastbound. And the BMW lost control in front of the semi," CHP officer Chris Rardin said.

His car rotated about 180 degrees and crossed a yellow line before stopping directly in the path of a tractor-trailer hauling cattle, the CHP said.

The right front of the big rig, a 2005 Kenworth truck, hit the back right side of the BMW, which pushed the BMW into an adjacent field, the CHP said. The car stopped south of Novato Boulevard, facing east.

The 15-year-old passenger was declared dead at the scene, the Novato Fire District said.

Two 17-year-old passengers were ejected from the BMW and came to rest near the car in the field. They were taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, where one was treated for a concussion and amnesia while the other was treated for critical injuries, the CHP said.

The 16-year-old driver and a third 17-year-old passenger were taken to Marin General Hospital. The driver suffered cervical and pelvic fractures, and the 17-year-old suffered a concussion.

Leslie Benjamin, a spokeswoman for San Marin High School, said the teens were reportedly students at Novato High School. A Novato High School spokesman referred questions to the CHP.

The big-rig driver, 36-year-old Ken Smith of Mountain Home, Idaho, was not injured, the CHP said.

The driver was arrested around 3:15 p.m. at Marin General Hospital for gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, felony DUI and driving without a California Driver License, the CHP said.

On Saturday the crash sight was cleaned up and a shrine sat in its place with flowers, letters, and a picture of the 15-year-old boy who died there.

Friends wrote the boy's initials in chalk on the hillside to honor lost friend and serve as a reminder of the consequences of drunk driving.

(© CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Bay City News contributed to this report.)

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