The first occurred at 3:25 p.m. on Friday, when a 2000 Oldsmobile Alero driven by Lawrence Ramos Jr., 21, of Rocklin, was traveling southbound on U.S. Highway 101 when he, for unknown reasons, drifted across the center divide and directly into the path of an oncoming 2010 GMC Terrain. Ramos was pronounced dead at the scene and the driver of the GMC, Richard Banke, 60, of McKinleyville, suffered major injuries and was transported by helicopter to Mercy Medical Center in Redding.
The second fatality occurred shortly before 2 p.m. on Saturday, when Ruben J. Cordrey, 39, of Carlotta, lost control of his 1982 Toyota while travelling eastbound on State Route 36 near mile marker 13.27. Cordrey, who was wearing a seatbelt and not believed to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to the Humboldt County Coroner’s Office, these were the seventh and eight roadway deaths in Humboldt County so far this year. In 2015, the county recorded 28 vehicle related fatalities, three shy of the record set in 2009 and equaled in 2012.
Both fatal collisions remain under investigation by the CHP. See press releases for both incidents copied below:
From the CHP:
On Friday, May 13, at approximately 3:24 PM, a 2000 Oldsmobile Alero, with one male occupant [age 21] was traveling south on US-101 southbound, in the number two lane, south of Barkdull Road, in Humboldt County. A 2010 GMC Terrain, with one male occupant [Richard Banke, age 60, of McKinleyville] was traveling north on US-101 northbound, in the number two lane, south of Barkdull Road. For reasons still under investigation, the Oldsmobile drifted across the number one lane, over the paved divided section between the northbound and southbound lanes, across the northbound number one lane and directly into of the path of the GMC. The Oldsmobile and the GMC collided, head on, in the northbound number two lane. The driver of the Oldsmobile sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the GMC sustained major injuries and was transported by helicopter to Mercy Medical Center in Redding. The identity of the deceased is currently being withheld pending notification of next of kin.
Agencies on scene were Cal Fire, Fortuna Fire, City Ambulance of Eureka, Weott Fire, Cal Trans, Humboldt County Sheriff Department, California State Parks and CHP.
This collision remains under investigation by the California Highway Patrol. It is unknown at this time if drugs or alcohol were a factor in the collision.
On May 14th, 2016, at approximately 1355 hours, Party #1 (Cordrey) (P-1) was driving Vehicle #1 (Toyota) (V-1) eastbound on State Route 36 (SR-36) near mile post marker 13.27. For reasons still under investigation, P-1 allowed V-1 to leave the roadway on the south side. V-1 then veered back onto the roadway where it overturned and came to rest in the westbound lane of SR-36. As a result of the collision, P-1 sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene.
The eastbound and westbound lanes of SR-36 at the scene were closed to one-way traffic control for approximately 3 hours to facilitate the collision investigation and the gathering of evidence. P-1 was wearing his seatbelt and alcohol or drugs do not appear to be a factor in this collision. The California Highway Patrol Humboldt area is investigating the collision.
The California Highway Patrol responded to a pair of fatal crashes over the weekend.