A BRITISH mum died when she was thrown from a car which suddenly rolled backwards while parked on a hill in northern California.

Patricia Sanz Munoz ,45, from Reading, Berks, was on holiday in the US with her 12-year-old son Luis and husband Chris Parsons when she lost her life on July 16.

The family were driving up a steep hill in Mendocino, north of San Francisco, when they came across another car which had spilled bails of dirt on the road, police said.

Father Chris, who was driving the vehicle, pulled over to the side of the road and got out to help clear up the spillage, when the SUV started to roll back down the hill.

The car plunged off the side of the roadway and both Patricia and her son were thrown from the vehicle.

Emergency services rushed to the scene but Patricia was already dead by the time they arrived, local media reported.

Luis was taken to a children's hospital where he was treated for minor injuries following the crash.

Those who knew Patricia have paid tribute to her on a Memory Giving page which has raised £1,225 so far.

She worked for a charity called Smart Works Reading which provides high quality interview clothes, styling advice and interview training to women in need.

Rosa Lombardo said: "She was one the brightest mind I've met, ambitious to do more and achieve great results.

"Patricia was always available to help and I remember her always smiling.”

Marianne Daniels posted: “In memory of a beautiful lady, with love, Marianne, Tony, Ruby and Henry."

Clare Kingswood said: "Pat was always so bright and warm and welcoming every time I saw her.”

In due course a full inquest will take place while the Californian Highway Patrol determined that alcohol and drugs were not a factor in the crash.

A spokesman for the patrol said: "For reasons still under investigation, the vehicle began to travel backwards down the incline and travelled over the shoulder and down a steep embankment.

"The right front passenger and the rear passenger were both ejected from the vehicle.

The right front passenger sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene.

of the road
"The rear passenger sustained moderate injuries and was transported to the Oakland Children's Hospital.

“Alcohol and drugs were determined to have not been a factor in this collision.

"This collision is still under investigation."

The date for the full inquest has yet to be set.