Driver of Hart family SUV was drunk, authorities say

Monday, 16 Apr, 2018

According to a press release from the Mendocino County Sheriff's office, on Friday around 10:45 am, "searchers located the deceased body of an adult female approximately 7 miles north of the reported crash site". Meanwhile, Sandeep's father Babu Subramaniam Thottapilly took to social media and put out a message to Union Bank stating that his son, who was working as vice-president with the bank, and his family has been missing during their trip to Oregon.

Before the family was reported missing, authorities were already searching for a vehicle that had been seen falling into the roiling Eel River on April 6.

Searchers also found items described as consistent with a family traveling on vacation and unspecified personal items that allowed officials to confirm that the vehicle seen plunging into the river was the Thottapilly's SUV.

Five bodies were found March 26 near Mendocino and a body was pulled out of the surf last weekend but its identity was not immediately identified. California Patrol Capt. Bruce Carpenter said Friday, April 13, 2018, that toxicology tests found Jennifer Hart had an alcohol level of.102.

Between the two search days, the Swift Water Rescue Teams were able to cover approximately 12 miles of the Eel river, just north of the town of Leggett in California. The vehicle submerged and vanished before rescuers reached the scene.

On Thursday, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office said it had found belongings of the Thottapilly family, of Santa Clarita, as well as vehicle parts from their SUV about 14 miles down river from where investigators believe they rolled down an embankment.

The California Highway Patrol has also said the crash is thought to have been intentional. The items found from the river have identified positive by the family members.

According to the San Jose Police Department, the Thottapilly family was supposed to have arrived to visit a friend in the San Jose area on April 6 but did not make it as scheduled. Their last known location was near Klamath near the OR border.

Officials later learned it matched the description of the Thottapilly's maroon Honda Pilot.

Sandeep Thottapilly grew up in Surat city in Gujarat and settled down in the U.S. over 15 years ago.