Publicado: Sáb, Abril 14, 2018
Global | Por Milagro Delgado

Woman who drove SUV with family off Mendocino Co. cliff was drunk

Woman who drove SUV with family off Mendocino Co. cliff was drunk

Recovered vehicle debris and personal items confirm that an SUV seen plunging into a storm-swollen Northern California river belonged to a family that disappeared last week, authorities said Thursday.

Anxious acquaintances and relatives shared information online about the Thottapilly family, their smiling faces beaming out from missing persons posters. The family was last heard from in the town of Klamath, Del Norte County, on April 5.

An undated photo of the Thottapilly family.

Two mothers, Jennifer Jean Hart and Sarah Margaret Hart, both 38, were found in the family's 2003 GMC Yukon XL.

However, the California Highway Patrol has not concluded why the vehicle went off an ocean overlook.

The automotive itself and the four members of the Thottapilly family have not been recovered from the Eel River, which stays too unsafe for divers to enter, nevertheless searchers alongside the banks located fairly a couple of objects in line with a Honda automotive and inside, and objects in line with a family touring on journey, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office talked about in an announcement.

"Some of these items were consistent with a Honda vehicle", the CHP said in the Facebook post.

Sandeep Thottapilly, 42, his wife, Soumya, 38, and their two children, Siddhant, 12, and Saachi, 9, were on vacation driving from Portland, Oregon, to San Jose where they had planned to meet with family, the CHP said.

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"These items were of a personal nature and will not be described further at this time, but it does confirm the fact the vehicle that was seen going into the river was that of the Thottapilly family". MORE: Witness recalls SUV matching missing Valencia family's vehicle flipping into Eel River The family was scheduled to arrive to visit a friend in the San Jose area on April 6, but never showed up, authorities said. The family was driving a maroon, 2016 Honda Pilot and was believed to have been heading down the Redwood Coast Highway from OR after last being heard from in Del Norte County.

The vehicle itself has not been found, or any human remains.

"It was determine that diving or swift water rescue operations could not be conducted in a safe manner due to the height and flow of the river during the storm", Wunderlich reported.

They made headway over about 12 miles of river bank during two days of searching.

The teams accessed the river in inflatable boats and using smaller floatation devices.

Search crews from multiple local law enforcement agencies have been trying to retrieve the vehicle, including the Southern Humboldt Technical Rescue; the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office Boat Team; the California Highway Patrol Helicopter based in Redding, California; the Piercy Fire Department; the Leggett Valley Fire Department; the Swift Water Component Teams; the Little Lake Fire Department, the Ukiah Valley Fire Department, and the Hopland Fire Department.

If and when the missing SUV is found, the CHP is expected to carry out a complete mechanical inspection of the vehicle as part of the accident investigation.

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