A mother and daughter are dead after their car drove through a parking lot, hit a barricade, and sailed over a coastal cliff in northern California on Saturday morning, plunging 100 feet to land on its roof on the rocky shoreline below. The victims of the Bodega Bay tragedy were identified as Elizabeth Correia, 41, an elementary school teacher, and her mother, Maria Teixeira, 64, lead custodian at another Bay Area elementary school, the Mercury News reports. Teixeira was driving the Toyota SUV. Dozens of onlookers who were at the scenic overlook at the Bodega Head Trail at the time watched the tragedy unfold, and witnesses reported that the car did not appear to be speeding or driving unsafely, the Pleasanton Weekly reports.
It also did not accelerate, but neither did it appear to brake or slow down as it rolled toward the cliff, the AP reports. The California Highway Patrol is investigating. It's not clear whether the crash was intentional or accidental, or whether the car malfunctioned in some way, but a CHP officer tells the Press-Democrat the car appeared to be heading toward a parking spot and then for some reason went over the log barrier and then the cliff. The Sonoma County Coroner's Office will also perform autopsies to see whether any medical problems may have played a role. Neither drugs nor alcohol are believed to be a factor. (Read more California stories.)