Sunday's Head-On Crash in Napa Claims Life of Boy, 4; Injures 4 Others

In one vehicle was the Mustards Grill owner and her husband. The boy's mother, 25, and a friend, 23, were in the other involved in the collision on Highway 121.

A 4-year-old boy died and four people, including the owner of Mustards Grill, were injured in a head-on crash in Napa County on Sunday afternoon, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Lakai Kirk was killed in the crash, which occurred around 3:30 p.m. on state Highway 121 south of Duhig Road near Napa.

The crash also injured Napa County restaurateur Cynthia Pawlcyn, 58, and her husband John Watanabe, 66, of St. Helena.

Flavio Castellanos, 23, of Napa, was in a 2011 Chevrolet Equinox driving north on Highway 121 when he crossed into the southbound lane at a curved part of the road and collided head-on with a 2012 Lexus RX450, CHP Officer Jaret Paulson said.

Castellanos suffered major injuries and was taken to the Queen of the Valley Hospital in Napa, Paulson said.

[Previous story: Fatality Reported in Sunday Afternoon's Collision on Hwys 12 & 121 in Napa County.]

The 4-year-old boy, a passenger in the Chevrolet, was given first aid at the scene and was flown by the Sonoma County sheriff's helicopter to Queen of the Valley Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, Paulson said.

When the crash occurred, the boy was secured in a booster seat and the lap and shoulder restraints were in use, Paulson said.

Lakai's 25-year-old mother Ariel Kirk suffered major injuries in the collision and was taken to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital.

In the Lexus, Pawlcyn suffered moderate injuries and Watanabe suffered minor injuries and both were taken to Queen of the Valley hospital, Paulson said.

Pawlcyn owns Mustards Grill in Napa and Cindy's Backstreet Kitchen in St. Helena and a catering business, as well as of Cindy's Waterfront at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Pawlcyn was recently announced as a finalist in the prestigious 2014 James Beard Award as Best Restaurateur in the United States. The award ceremonies are May 5 in New York City.

She also has written cookbooks including "Grub Street San Francisco" and "Cindy's Supper Club: Meals From Around the World to Share With Family and Friends."

The crash closed Highway 121 for three hours.

This fatality is the fourth death reported on area roads over the recent weekend:

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V_Therese April 08, 2014 at 12:51 PM
Yes, Gina, perhaps the little boy's family is requesting privacy, but I hope that lots of help is forthcoming for this tragic, suffering young mother.
Susan C. Schena April 08, 2014 at 12:57 PM
Hello, and thanks for the comments. I completely understand your points. Good and well-made constructive criticism. And am working on an update on the child now ...
bluecollardoctor April 08, 2014 at 01:01 PM
This crash was reported in at least three other news outlets and each chose to include an explanation of who Cindy is, and on each site there was someone complaining about that. I think when someone famous is involved that gets reported because of the tendency towards sensationalism in the media. Patch in this case is sort of just re-reporting the news from other sites. But it could have been edited out as everyone in Napa knows who CP is (and if they don't they don't care). I would also like to hear about the child's family, and the circumstances leading up to the crash.
bluecollardoctor April 08, 2014 at 01:08 PM
I am dismayed by the number of crashes recently that have involved "veering" or "swerving" as if it was an impossible task for some people to keep their car in their own lane pointed in the right direction. At least when alcohol, sleep deprivation, or texting is involved we have an explanation. But when those factors are not involved it is really scary that we have here now a population of drivers who seemingly don't have the skills to operate their vehicles.
Susan C. Schena April 08, 2014 at 03:33 PM
Update: http://napavalley.patch.com/groups/police-and-fire/p/memorial-fund-launches-for-sweet-little-man-killed-in-sunday-crash-in-napa


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