What began as a trip to see the redwoods for a Marin County woman and her two children turned into a terrifying journey as the woman's husband threatened to kill them all by driving off a cliff, police say.
The two children, ages 10 and 12, jumped out of the car as it approached the edge of a cliff south of Leggett, on Highway 101 in Mendocino County. They suffered minor injuries. The driver, Ryan Thomas Corbett, 34, of San Rafael, was eventually caught by the California Highway Patrol and booked in Mendocino County Jail. A court hearing was scheduled for Wednesday.
The Marin County couple have been married only a few months. The wife told deputies she and Corbett began quarreling while driving up to the North Coast redwoods on July 16. They got as far as Garberville and began driving back, arguing all the way.
At some point Corbett sped up, allegedly reaching extreme speeds for this winding section of Highway 101, crossing over the yellow lines and terrifying the woman and her children.
Corbett allegedly refused to pull over and let them out, continuing his reckless driving. Near mile marker 86, overlooking Highway 271 below, he allegedly pulled the car into an open area and began driving directly toward the edge at 30 to 40 mph, telling his passengers he intended to kill them all.
One of the children opened the car's door and jumped out, hitting the dirt and gravel and rolling. The second child followed.
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His wife took the opportunity to get some of her possessions from the car. But the driver took exception to this as well, allegedly grabbing the woman by the hair and slamming her into the ground. He then picked her up and threatened to throw her off the embankment, reports say.
By the time a California Highway Patrol officer arrived, Corbett had driven off. The woman and her two children were battered and bruised but without any broken bones. They were treated and released at the scene.
An alert was issued to law enforcement agencies along the Highway 101 corridor.
Corbett was charged with three felony counts of dissuading a witness and felony child endangerment. A hearing was set for Wednesday in Mendocino County Superior Court to schedule dates for a preliminary hearing and trial.