Friday, September 22, 2023

Arrest Made After Fatal Hit and Run at Richardson Grove

Posted By on Fri, Sep 22, 2023 at 9:09 AM

click to enlarge chp.jpg
A 57-year-old Carmichael man was killed and a Leggett man arrested after a hit-and-run crash on U.S. Highway 101 near Richardson Grove State Park on Wednesday.

According to a California Highway Patrol press release, the 67-year-old Carmichael man was walking from a trail on the west edge of the roadway south of the park entrance when he stopped to wait for a family member. At that moment, a black Toyota Tundra heading south allegedly driven Earl Castillo, 53, drifted off the roadway and onto the dirt shoulder, hitting the man. The truck then fled the scene.

Based on evidence found at the crash site and witness statements, police put out a be-on-the-lookout advisory for the pickup truck, which was spotted by some Caltrans workers, who called police. Two CHP officers then attempted to pull over the vehicle, which again fled at a high rate of speed, eventually turning up a private driveway only to be blocked by a locked gate, according to the release.

Police were then able to detain Castillo, who was later determined to be impaired, according to the release, and booked into jail on suspicion of driving under the influence causing grave injury, as well as other charges.

The identity of the man killed in the crash is being withheld at this time, pending notification of his family.

See the full CHP press release copied below:


Attached is the CHP Garberville Area’s Press Release for the fatal crash that occurred on 09/20/2023 on US-101, at Richardson’s Grove.

On 09/20/2023 at approximately 1330 hours, a pedestrian was walking from a trail on the west roadway edge of US-101, south of the Richardson Grove State Park entrance. Based on witness statements, the pedestrian stopped just west of the west roadway edge on the dirt shoulder awaiting a family member. At that time, a vehicle which was later identified as a 2010 Black Toyota Tundra, driven by Earl Castillo of Leggett, was traveling southbound on US-101. Castillo allowed the Toyota to travel off the west roadway edge and crashed with the pedestrian standing on the dirt shoulder. Castillo failed to stop at the crash scene, fleeing southbound on US-101. Shortly after the crash, CHP personnel arrived on scene. CHP located vehicle parts identifying the involved vehicle as black Toyota pickup. This information was broadcast via CHP Dispatch and a be on the lookout for the involved vehicle was requested. Multiple Cal-Trans employees who heard the broadcast observed the Toyota matching the description and called it in to CHP dispatch. While traveling on US-101, two officers observed the Toyota and attempted to make an enforcement stop. The Toyota failed to yield to the patrol vehicle's lights and sirens and traveled northbound at a high rate of speed. The Toyota attempted to flee up a private driveway but due to a locked gate, was unable to continue. Officers conducted a high risk stop and detained Castillo. Evidence from the scene and damage Castillo's Toyota were consistent with the vehicle's involvement in the crash. Upon evaluation, Castillo was determined to be DUI and was placed under arrest for 23153(G)VC, 20001 VC, 192(C)(1) PC, 1203.2 PC, 2800.1 VC. Castillo was transported to the Humboldt County Jail and booked on the above charges. Due to the nature of the crash and charges, a bail enhancement was requested and granted.



The California Highway Patrol Garberville Area is conducting follow-up and ask if anyone observed the actual crash or the Toyota fleeing the scene to please call the office at 707-932-6100.



The Garberville Area CHP would like to thank citizens who stopped at the scene and rendered aid. The following agencies assisted with this investigation: Cal-trans, Garberville Fire, Cal-Fire, City Ambulance, and State Parks.
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Thadeus Greenson is the news editor of the North Coast Journal.

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