Vallejo man faces murder charges in crash that killed mother and son in Rodeo

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A 20-year-old Vallejo man is facing murder charges for allegedly causing the crash that killed a mother and her 6-year-old son in Rodeo on Thursday, March 23.

Ralph Ellsworth White, III, was allegedly fleeing police at a high rate of speed before the vehicle he was driving, a stolen Mazda SUV, crashed into another vehicle near Parker Avenue and 4th Street in Rodeo.

The impact of the collision killed the driver of the other vehicle, 31-year-old Ryniqueka Dowell, and injured her six-year-old twin sons, one of whom died on March 27 from crash-related injuries, authorities said. The other boy suffered a broken leg and other injuries.

The incident occurred after the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office notified Hercules police about 7:30 p.m. that night about a stolen Mazda SUV seen traveling eastbound on I-80 toward Hercules. A Hercules police officer then saw the stolen SUV exit Willow Avenue and attempted to pull it over, but the SUV sped off, causing the deadly crash shortly thereafter.

After the crash, White fled the scene on foot, but officers found him at a nearby liquor store and placed him under arrest.

White will be arraigned today at 1:30 p.m. in Martinez on two counts of murder with two enhancements for committing the offenses while on bail, according to the Contra Costa County Districty Attorney’s Office. White also faces felonies for fleeing a pursuing peace officer’s vehicle and causing serious bodily injury, a hit and run resulting in the death or injury to another person, carrying a loaded unregistered firearm, and receiving stolen property (i.e., a motor vehicle).  

A GoFundMe fundraiser has been launched to support the surviving members of the family tragically impacted by the fatal crash.