A father of three and one of his young sons died in a crash Monday evening when the Jeep they were traveling in went off a dirt road on private property in Sonoma County, and three others, including two children, were injured in an effort to rescue them.
Details were few on Tuesday morning when we first learned about the crash in a ravine north of Cazadero in western Sonoma County. Now we are learning a bit more about the tragedy that occurred, as SFGate reports on the crash that actually involved two different vehicles, both Jeeps. It was also initially reported that the two fatalities were both adults, which is not the case.
The crash happened after sundown on Monday at the Happy Hills Hunting Club, on Happy Hills Ranch Road near Mohrhardt Ridge Road, about 20 miles northwest of Guerneville. Arriving CHP officers found two Jeeps overturned about 300 feet down a ravine — not the single Jeep that was originally reported.
CHP Santa Rosa clarified the situation on Tuesday following a preliminary investigation. "The crash involved two Jeeps in two separate crashes with a total of five occupants," CHP said in a Facebook post. "Preliminary investigation indicates the first Jeep overturned down a steep embankment. The second Jeep driven by a 49-year-old male attempted to help the occupants in the first crash, but his Jeep also overturned down the embankment and crashed."
The occupants of the first Jeep, 32-year-old Matthew Sousa and his 7-year-old son Jason, both died from their injuries.
The 49-year-old man sustained life-threatening injuries when his Jeep overturned, and two boys in that vehicle were also airlifted to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital with what CHP described as "moderate injuries."
ATVs were brought in to help with the precarious rescue effort, and CHP's Golden Gate Air Division helped with the medevac process.
Sousa's sister, Kristy Sousa, has posted a GoFundMe campaign for her now widowed sister-in-law Kendra, and her two remaining children, Joey and Mateus.
"It is with great sadness and heavy hearts that we have to share the tragic and unimaginable passing of my brother Matthew and my nephew Jason Sousa on Monday December 19, 2022," Kristy Sousa writes.
The campaign, seeking to ease the financial burden on Kendra Sousa, has raised over $83,000 of a $150,000 goal.