Multiple Close Calls With Cattle in the Redcrest Area Prior to Fatal Accident; CHP Trying to Determine Responsibility
On August 5, a woman died after the vehicle she was a passenger in struck a dead bull in the road north of Redcrest. The driver of the vehicle reportedly fled the fatal accident. (See earlier story here.) We’ve since learned that following an accident with a truck and trailer four days earlier on August 2 where cattle escaped, there were several dangerous incidents on Hwy 101 involving the livestock. The CHP is currently trying to “determine fault and responsibility” for the fatal accident, according to Officer Jeremy Lozensky of the California Highway Patrol.
At approximately 9:12 a.m. on Tuesday, August 2, a truck hauling cattle struck an embankment near the Redcrest offramp. Three animals escaped. One was recovered immediately but the other two disappeared into the wooded and brushy landscape. The Lost Coast Outpost on the day of the accident reported that “Rusty” told them that there were cattle on the road and “[t]raffic backed up in both directions.” Eventually, the incident cleared and the truck and trailer left the area.
Later that same evening, at least two motorists spied a brown cow about 7:15 p.m. north of the Redcrest exit and called in reporting the problem. An officer was dispatched to the scene but nothing further is noted in the log at that time.
No cattle were reported to the California Highway Patrol on August 3rd but, on the 4th there were two sightings. A “black cow” was reported at 6:40 p.m. on the roadside north of the Redcrest exit. Then a black cow was reported to be in the number two lane about 11:45 p.m.
At some point, one of the cows was recovered alive, according to Officer Lozensky. The date of the recovery is unclear.
Finally, on the 5th there was a sighting of a live “cow” at 9:07 p.m. Then another at 10:03 p.m. also north of Redcrest. It is unclear whether that animal was alive or dead. Then, finally, at 10:21 p.m. there was a report of a traffic accident. The vehicle, a Honda Civic, overturned and one person was trapped. Medical personnel pronounced one of the passengers, the only woman, deceased at the scene.
We know from the CHP press release that the bull was already dead before it was struck in the final fatal accident. “Someone reported hitting it but after [the fatal accident], Officer Lozensky stated. He said that the CHP was investigating whether the bull that the vehicle struck was one of the cattle that was lost during the initial accident. We can say that we looked back to July 22 and there were no cattle sightings reported in that area prior to the accident on August 2 even though there were multiple sightings afterwards.
Lozensky said his office is continuing to investigate the accident including who was driving at the time the Honda struck the deceased bull.