Car Slams into Power Pole Off 101 in Terra Linda

Novato driver hit about 100 mph in his BMW before crashing, witnesses told the CHP; PG&E working to fix severed pole.

A 25-year-old Novato man who was speeding in his BMW on Highway 101 sustained major injuries after losing control and severing a power pole in half before the car came to rest, the California Highway Patrol reported.

Emergency responders were called at 7:47 a.m. to the wreck on southbound 101 about a quarter mile north of the Freitas Parkway offramp in Terra Linda, according to the CHP. The solo vehicle crash blocked one southbound lane for a short time.

The driver, Jose Rodriguez, reportedly suffered injuries to the face and was trapped inside the car before being extricated by firefighters. Battalion Chief Jeff Buscher of the San Rafael Fire Department said the man did not lose consciousness but was in mild distress as he was taken to Marin General Hospital.

CHP Sgt. Marcus Bartholomew said the extent of Rodriguez's injuries were "major, possibly life changing." Drugs and alcohol do not appear to be a factor in the crash, he said.

According to the initial CHP report, Rodriguez's 1991 BMW 735IL veered to the left, hit the center divide, veered to the right, went off the right shoulder, collided with the pole and came to rest upright in a ditch.

"The skidmarks looked sideways across all lanes, so we're lucky he didn't hit anybody else," Buscher said.

Witnesses told investigators that the car was driving at more than 100 mph before the crash. Rodriguez did not have a driver's license, and the CHP will seek a charge against him, Bartholomew said.

Buscher said the car sheared off the pole and sent it flying about 20 feet into some trees. The power wires were dangling from the two nearest poles, he said. PG&E crews were called to repair the downed pole.

Bartholomew said the downhill straightaway just before the Marinwood exit on southbound 101 is a spot where driver's often pick up a lot of speed and regularly hit 80 mph. The CHP's speed enforcement team uses LIDAR (laser) devices to measure speeds and try to slow drivers.

This is another bitter example of how people do not think ahead of the consequences of exceeding the speed limit," he said. "... Whatever gain was going to be made by the risk of driving that fast obviously was not worth it.  This is something all of us need to constantly remind ourselves of when we get out on the freeway." 

Were you there? Did you take any photos? If you're logged into Patch, you can upload them directly to this story or email them to brent.ainsworth@patch.com. 

— Bay City News Services contributed to this report.

Know Much December 09, 2012 at 09:32 AM
Funny how you call him an illegal alien just because of his name. I know him and know he's a citizen. Your racism is not welcome. Here or anywhere. Just because he's Hispanic doesn't mean he's an illegal. If someone is wearing a turban on their head, are they going to go hijack a plane? So get your facts straight before your mouth gets you hurt(not a threat just a truth).I spoke with him about how fast he was going and it wasn't near 100. These speeds are what witnesses estimated, but are not facts. News will never ever give you 100% fact especially when relying on a witness saying "derr umm well derka derka I think" stop thinking. I suggest the moderators filter these unnecessary and disrespectful racial attacks.
NovatoCitizen December 09, 2012 at 04:18 PM
I wondered the same thing Jerome. Another poster is angrily defending this stupid reckless driver, who was illegally driving. Maybe if this stupid driver crashed into him,he'd feel differently. I hope this stupid reckless driver is put in prison before he kills someone.
NovatoCitizen December 09, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Searching the superior court index at http://www.marincourt.org/PublicIndex/SearchResults.aspx turns up some results. Granted, this could be a different "Jose Rodriguez" but "Jose Rodriguez" was sued for pers injury/damage (auto) only a few months ago. Wonder if it is the same person.
Know Much December 09, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Well it seems as though you are a troll. I'm not necessarily defending him, just trying to ensure that the facts are straight before people start believing uneducated claims. All I'm saying is A) people should stop being racist towards him and B) the article may not be 100% correct as far as speed. Do you not even read the fact that Jose himself has posted a comment? Or are you too much of a troll to respond to that. I bet you drive a prius at 45 in the fast lane causing much larger hazards than this. Do you believe everything the news tells you about the government? You seem like quite the sheep
Know Much December 09, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Oh and ps, I'm not angry. Trust me, not even close to angry
mom December 09, 2012 at 05:05 PM
that he should not have been driving with out a license. True. that Jerome sounds like a racist. True. that we're lucky no one was killed. True.
NovatoCitizen December 09, 2012 at 05:17 PM
@knowMuch: Do you threaten people much? He was asking, not stating a fact. It's a reasonable question IMHO given how often we read about unlicensed Hispanic drivers. Granted, your reckless buddy may be a citizen as you claim, with no license. Which sounds very improbable to me but whatever. . Interesting to me how you divert this article to a racist issue.
Renee December 09, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Mr G's, racial ignorance is truly astounding!! He will not stop! it is better to not engage such appalling comments!
GoodSamaritan December 09, 2012 at 06:06 PM
It was an ACCIDENT. It could have happened to ANYONE. His tires were balding, and he lost control when changing lanes. He was clean and sober. Why is somebody else's life or mistakes any of your business!? The accident didn't involve you so butt out of other people's business and stop being so hypercritical of others. We are ALL human beings with lives and feelings. Nobody needs negativity so keep it to yourself!!
GoodSamaritan December 09, 2012 at 06:08 PM
It's not the same person! Jose is a responsible family man who was just trying to get to work.
JAN December 09, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Good to learn you aren't in worse shape. And, hope you can walk and get about soon. Only you know what caused the crash, too sleepy, too fast or maybe checking your email. CHP is right behind you regarding the license issue. And, PG&E will send you a bill for the power pole. Glad you made it.
NovatoCitizen December 09, 2012 at 06:42 PM
What a joke. He was going 100 mph. True. He was driving without a license. True. There are multiple witnesses staring all of this. True. You are playing the race card. True. Your reckless buddy could have killed someone. True. And if he knew he had bald tires and was speeding and being reckless and endangering other people that only makes it worse. That's your excuse? Bald tires? You should be a defense lawyer. Your argument is laughable.
Know Much December 09, 2012 at 07:02 PM
There were no question marks. He is trying to persuade people into buying into his beliefs about illegal immigrants. Trying to make every negative thing that happens involving Hispanics look like an issue of immigration. His comment was VERY clear. I've driven unlicensed before and I'm mostly Russian. If I had gotten into a bad accident does that mean my status be questioned? No because my skin is white and my last name is English. I'm not the one who diverted this into an issue of race, Jerome did. I know most of the facts from the driver himself, but while the incident is still fresh, I can not explain in full detail, you should be able to understand that.
Know Much December 09, 2012 at 07:04 PM
Oh and I would like to know at which point I made threats.
Craig Belfor December 09, 2012 at 09:10 PM
So let me get it right. If I drive ALMOST 100 mph, have bald tires, change lanes recklessly, have no license, and wrap it around a pole, I can get out of it by giving an Hispanic surname. Jerome will accuse me of being an illegal, but six others will jump up to defend me.
Know Much December 09, 2012 at 10:41 PM
100mph= false
JAN December 09, 2012 at 11:52 PM
Nothing is so satisfying to the lazy mind as news that reinforces a negative stereotype.
NovatoCitizen December 10, 2012 at 01:37 AM
@craig: that seems to be the case with some, sadly. @Jan: is it really a stereotype?
carol l December 10, 2012 at 03:25 AM
Wow, is this really the driver of the car I saw totalled on the side of the road yesterday morning? And the one responsible for the traffic jam while PGE repaired the pole at the cost of their customers? Everyone please remember to slow down and DO NOT TAIL GATE! Give at least 5 car lengths between cars. DO NOT PASS on the right side! Simple rules that save lives. The most dangerous thing we do everyday is drive our cars. One tiny mistake, game over. Carol
Lindsay December 10, 2012 at 04:09 AM
so check this out, he cut off a truck!!! going 100 mph or more! how do i know? because I was in the truck he cut off, and he did it intentionally, so yeah, it wasn't just an accident, that is what road rage does, when you want to go faster than 75 that is what happens! I had my 6 year old daughter in the truck and I thank God both my daughter or Jose are not dead! But debating on how fast is stupid because he was going to fast to jerk the wheel that hard! I'm glad your ok jose, but thank God your still alive
Jennifer S. December 10, 2012 at 05:27 AM
Wow lots of people witnessed this, so everyone defending him should stop because what you're saying is obsolete. Jose quit driving reckless.
Jennifer S. December 10, 2012 at 05:38 AM
Well on the contrary, people who witnessed this say differently about speed being a factor. But I do agree with you about Jerome's constant remarks.
uuum ok December 10, 2012 at 04:02 PM
" Witnesses told investigators that the car was driving at more than 100 mph" hmm ok
John Ferguson December 10, 2012 at 06:38 PM
The reason we're not allowed to drive 100 mph on the highway is because of idiots like Jose Rodriguez. Driving unlicensed should get you a month or more in jail. Licensing requirements should be more stringent and everyone should have to take a driving test (at their expense) every five years until age 60 then every two years. All the money collected from the increased testing and higher registration fees should be used to improve public transportation in this state. That is all..
Citizen December 10, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Spoken like a person who is always driving over the speed limit. The 100mph is irrelevant. An unlicensed person was driving at an unsafe speed period. Need we find out if he has car insurance?
uwannawork December 11, 2012 at 03:20 AM
ALL Day, face it u were wreckless and lucky u did not have your daughter in the car.U better get SMART GOOF..... U are lucky someone is watchin over you
quiet one December 12, 2012 at 07:39 AM
very lucky!
kellr December 12, 2012 at 07:29 PM
maybe hes a citizen who pays taxes, but how do u know. u want facts. ASK? DON'T JUDGE. cause theres alot of thing i'm sure you don't know
mommy of two December 12, 2012 at 07:38 PM
a lot of driver with license drive reckless so license or no license is not an issue because everyone does it. the point is not to drive fast and not to cut off people in the highway
Arvid P. Sloan December 14, 2012 at 11:20 PM
Jose is a good man, works in a local store and is a union butcher. I hope he fully recovers. His customers look fwd to his return to work.


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