Sacto 9-1-1
February 12, 2012
Sacramento boy, 4, dies in apparent road-rage crash on I-5

The 4-year-old son of an unlicensed Sacramento motorist was killed Saturday when the father engaged in apparent road-rage exchanges with another driver and lost control of his car on Interstate 5, a California Highway Patrol spokeswoman said.

Joe Chanthavong, 26, was driving a blue 1999 Honda Accord south on I-5 from Interstate 80 at about 4:20 p.m. and was engaging in some type of road rage with the driver of another vehicle following behind, CHP Officer Lizz Dutton said.

Dutton said the drivers of both vehicles were making unsafe lane changes, following too closely and speeding. Just north of the Garden Highway, while Chanthavong was in the No. 2 lane, he abruptly turned to the right in an effort to exit the freeway.

That maneuver caused him to lose control of his car, miss the exit and drive into the space between the freeway and the Garden Highway offramp. Dutton said Chanthavong's car, carrying the boy's mother, Melinda Phouglonghong, and their son, traveled down an embankment and through a chain link fence before it overturned.

The child was not properly secured in a child restraint seat, Dutton said. He was ejected and fatally injured.

The driver of the other vehicle, described by witnesses as a black Chevy pickup similar to an Avalanche and displaying California license plates, apparently continued on the freeway.

The Honda came to rest on its wheels in a grassy area west of the fence.

Phouglonghong, 23, of Sacramento, was taken to the UC Davis Medical Center with minor cuts and abrasions.

Chanthavong was also transported to the hospital with a contusion to his head and minor cuts and abrasions.

Dutton said a toxicology report - and charges - are pending, Dutton said.

Anyone who witnessed any part of the exchange between the drivers of the two vehicles or who has information on the cars' occupants is asked to contact the North Sacramento CHP office at (916) 338-6710 or the CHP Communications Center at (916) 861-1300.

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