Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Two Recent Vehicle Fatalities Bring Humboldt's 2015 Road Deaths to 27

Posted By on Wed, Nov 18, 2015 at 4:54 PM

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A fatal crash on Saturday and another yesterday morning bring the year's total road deaths up to 27. As reported in our September cover story, Humboldt County has one of the highest rates of vehicle fatalities in the nation and this year is on pace to break previous records for road deaths.

Saturday's crash occurred as a vehicle was traveling northbound on U.S. Highway 101 through Richardson Grove. The time and cause of the accident is still unknown, although alcohol is believed to be a factor. The Humboldt County Coroner's Office has not been able to positively identify the two men involved in the crash, as both were Spanish citizens. Chief Deputy Coroner Ernie Stewart confirmed their fingerprints had been sent to the Spanish consulate in San Francisco for processing. Both men were ejected from the vehicle during the crash; one died on the scene and the other was flown to Santa Rosa. According to Stewart, the survivor has not regained consciousness.

Tuesday's crash involved a commercial semi-truck driver whose Freightliner left the northbound lane of U.S. Highway 101 to cross southbound lanes before hitting several trees and overturning near Fortuna. The driver, a 29-year-old Stockton man, has not yet been publicly identified by name, as officials are still working to notify his family. The cause of the crash remains under investigation. The Journal will update when this information is available.

From the California Highway Patrol:

On Saturday, November 14, 2015, at an unknown time, two males were traveling in a 1996 Honda Accord northbound US Highway 101 in Richardson Grove at an unknown speed. For reasons still under investigation, the Honda left the west roadway edge of US Highway 101 causing the vehicle to overturn, subsequently ejecting both occupants. As a result of the collision, one male was pronounced deceased at the scene, and the other male was transported to Jerold Phelps Community Hospital with major injuries and later flown to Santa Rosa for further medical treatment.

Assisting agencies at the scene were Cal Fire, City Ambulance, Caltrans, and Garberville Volunteer Fire Department.
This collision remains under investigation by the California Highway Patrol. Alcohol does appear to be a factor in the cause of this collision.

Any information regarding this collision should be directed to the Garberville California Highway Patrol office. (707) 923-2155

On Tuesday, November 17, 2015, at approximately 1120 hours, a male adult was driving semi-truck northbound on US Highway 101 at MPM 101 HUM 42.39 The semi-truck was traveling at an unknown speed and for reasons still under investigation, the semi-truck traveled from the northbound lanes, across the southbound lanes, and onto the southbound shoulder. The semi-truck traveled a short distance on the shoulder before colliding with multiple trees.

The collision resulted in the Freightliner truck tractor overturning and coming to rest on its roof facing in a southwesterly direction. The trailer became separated from the truck tractor, overturned, and came to rest on its right side facing in a southwesterly direction, a short distance away from the truck. The truck became partially engulfed in flames which were quickly extinguished at the scene by responding Fire Personnel.

The driver became trapped in the cabin of the truck and was extracted with the use of hydraulic equipment at the scene. The driver appeared to have suffered blunt force trauma to the head and was pronounced deceased by City Ambulance of Eureka personnel, prior to extraction.

The Freightliner truck overturning resulted in the separation of fuel tanks and an undetermined amount of diesel fuel was spilled into the dirt. The Humboldt County Hazmat Team has been requested to facilitate the cleanup and mitigate the environmental impact.

Assisting agencies at the scene included Cal Fire, Scotia Volunteer Fire, City Ambulance of Eureka, Caltrans, and Humboldt Dept. of Health and Human Services.

This collision remains under investigation by the California Highway Patrol. Alcohol does not appear to be a factor in the cause of this collision.

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