Meanwhile, the California Highway Patrol issued a press release stating that the driver, 57-year-old William Larry Morris, of Fortuna, who sustained minor injuries in the crash, is believed to have been under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs at the time. Morris, who was also allegedly driving with a suspended license, was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI and gross vehicular manslaughter, according to the release.
CHP dispatch, the release also notes, received a 9-1-1 call minutes prior to the collision reporting a reckless driver in a silver sedan heading southbound on U.S. Highway 101 in Mckinleyville, which fits the description of the silver Hyundai Accent driven by Morris.
The full press release from CHP and the coroner’s office are copied below.
Two people were killed yesterday in a single car crash on U.S. Highway 101 just south of the interchange with State Route 299.
Arcata Fire District and Humboldt Bay Fire personnel responded to a report of a vehicle that had been travelling southbound on U.S. 101 and veered off the freeway, down an embankment and collided with a tree. When emergency crews arrived on scene, they found three people trapped in the vehicle, including two in critical condition. One was pronounced dead at the scene, and another at a local hospital. The third person in the vehicle suffered minor injuries, according to an Arcata Fire District press release.
The crash is under investigation by the California Highway Patrol, and details remain scant at this time. CHP spokesman Matthew Harvey was not immediately available for comment this morning.
The Humboldt County Coroner’s Office is still working to notify the families of the deceased, and won’t release their names publicly until it has done so.
The full press release from Arcata Fire, which includes details of another crash on State Route 299, is copied below.
Subject: Deceased Persons Identified Case: 201501451
On March 31, 2015 at about 6:00 PM there was a single vehicle traffic accident on southbound Highway 101 near Highway 299. Two subjects in the vehicle received extensive injuries as a result of the accident.
One of the injured subjects was declared deceased at the scene. The other injured subject was transported to Mad River Hospital and declared deceased at the hospital.
The deceased persons have been identified as Stacy M. Kejar, age 55, of McKinleyville. The second subject has been identified as Karen L. Brennan, age 59, of Eureka.
The California Highway Patrol is the lead agency in this investigation. All further information regarding this incident will be released through their office.
DUI COLLISION ON US-101 RESULTS IN TWO FATALITIES
The night of Tuesday, March 31, two occupants sustained fatal injuries out of a DUI collision on US-101, north of Arcata.
Just after 6 p.m., 57 year old William Larry Morris of Fortuna was driving a silver Hyundai Accent southbound on US-101, south of State Route 299, along with two adult female passengers. Due to Morris driving while under the combined influence of alcohol and drugs, he allowed the vehicle to drive off the west roadway edge where the vehicle collided directly into a tree. The female adult passenger who was seated in the right front seat sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene. The female adult passenger who was seated in the right rear seat was transported by ground ambulance to Mad River Community Hospital where she was pronounced deceased a short time later. Morris sustained minor injuries and was ultimately booked into the Humboldt County Jail facility on felony DUI and gross vehicular manslaughter charges. It was further discovered that Morris was driving on a suspended license. The two female occupants who sustained fatal injuries were not wearing their seatbelts at the time of the collision.
A few minutes prior to this collision, CHP Humboldt Communications Center received a 9-1-1 call of a reckless driver in a silver sedan on US-101 Southbound, south of McKinleyville. It is believed that this is the same vehicle that was involved in the traffic collision.
Agencies that responded to and assisted with this collision include the Humboldt County Coroner’s Office, Caltrans, Arcata Fire Protection District, Humboldt Bay Fire, City Ambulance of Eureka, and Mad River Community Hospital personnel.
This is the fifth fatal collision investigated by the CHP Humboldt Area office to date for the 2015 year that has resulted in a total of 7 fatal victims. 4 of these 7 victims are the result of DUI. The CHP reminds motorists to dial 9-1-1 immediately if you suspect a driver to be DUI.
Multiple Vehicle Accidents with People Trapped
Editor's Note: This post was updated from a previous version that, due to incorrect information provided to the
Arcata, CA- (March 31, 2015)-At approximately 6:00 PM Arcata Fire District was dispatched to a vehicle rollover on Highway 299 near Glendale with a possible entrapment. Minutes later they were dispatched to a second vehicle accident on south bound highway 101 near Highway 299 in Arcata.
Upon arrival of the Highway 299/Glendale incident, Battalion Chief (BC) Sean Campbell reported a single passenger vehicle that had rolled over the embankment approximately 20 feet from the roadway. The vehicle was found on its wheels, but the roof was caved in. There were four patients in the vehicle at the time of the incident. The two patients in the back seat were able to self-extricate. The other two patients in the front seat suffered head injuries and had to be extricated by Arcata Fire District and Blue Lake Fire personnel. “We were able to use a hydraulic tool or the Jaws of Life to extricate the patients in the front seat” stated BC Sean Campbell. Three of the four patients were transported to a nearby hospital for evaluation. The fourth patient refused care. All four patients were minors and suffered a range of injuries from minor to moderate.
Arcata Fire District responded with one chief officer, one engine and our heavy rescue truck. Blue Lake Fire responded with one chief officer, one engine and one rescue. CHP also responded to conduct the investigation and traffic control.
Units from Arcata Fire District and Humboldt Bay Fire responded to the second incident at Highway 101 and Highway 299. Upon arrival at the accident, crews reported a single vehicle into a tree down an embankment with three people trapped, two of them in critical condition. Within minutes Arcata Fire personnel were able to extricate the first patient from the vehicle who was later pronounced deceased at the hospital. Five minutes later, personnel were able to extricate the second patient from the vehicle. This patient suffered minor injuries. The third patient was pronounced deceased at the scene. CHP is currently on scene conducting the investigation.
Arcata Fire District responded with one chief officer, two engines and one rescue. Humboldt Bay Fire responded with one chief officer and one engine, Blue Lake Fire responded with once chief officer and a rescue. University Police responded with one unit for logistics and Cal Fire responded to provide coverage in our fire district.
Journal, misspelled Kejmar's name and incorrectly listed her age.
UPDATE: The Humboldt County Coroner’s Office has identified the two people killed in yesterday’s single-car accident on U.S. Highway 101 north of Arcata as Stacey Kejar, 50, of McKinleyville, and Karen Brennan, 59, of Eureka.