Teenage Girl Dead After Being Struck by Vehicle; Driver Arrested

rainy traffic accident

[Photo by a reader]

This is a press release from the California Highway Patrol. The information has not been proven in a court of law and any individuals described should be presumed innocent until proven guilty:

On the evening of Wednesday, December 14th, one  female teenage pedestrian sustained fatal injuries after being struck by a passing vehicle.

At approximately 8:07 p.m., James Arthur Merrick , of McKinleyville, was turning his 2000 Dodge Ram 1500 from eastbound Anna Sparks Way onto northbound Central Avenue.  The juvenile pedestrian was walking northbound on the east shoulder of Central Avenue, north of Anna Sparks Way.  For reasons still under investigation  Mr. Merrick allowed his vehicle to drive off the roadway and onto the east shoulder of Central Avenue striking the juvenile pedestrian.  The vehicle continued eastbound on the shoulder until it collided into a light pole.  Merrick attempted to flee the scene of the collision but was detained by several witnesses until Law Enforcement arrived on scene.  The juvenile pedestrian was transported to Mad River Community Hospital where she later succumbed to her injuries.

Merrick was placed under arrest and alcohol is believed to be a contributing factor in this traffic collision.  The California Highway Patrol-Humboldt Area responded to the scene and is conducting the investigation.

  • Laytonville Rock


  • Piece of shit is a sex offender too. String him up

    • The offense that he was written up for was a misunderstanding. I’m not justifying this accident, but that part at least.

      • the misadventures of bunjee

        Define “misunderstanding”. Come forth with more info that can be collaborated with others around otherwise your words are useless.

        • As are yours if you are assuming he’s guilty of that crime. Where’s your proof?[edit]

          • Proof really how About the young lady whom is dead…. Not concerned with his proirs dad or not there is no way to justify or punish this crime someone’s baby is gone … I lost my oldest son to this and don’t want to know what any court sentenced him to it could never fix the whole he left in my heart … [edit]. I’m sorry your dad did something that it’s causing your family great stress but you have no right to expect the community to not be outraged

          • Are you fuckin kidding me thanks my baby girl that dumb peice of shit was wasted at and tried to leave after he hit her I had to rip him out and make him stay there and when he moved the truck she was stuck in his bumper and still tried to leave now like that guy said words are useless if you can’t understand them if you can under stand that you are stupid strait up

      • People aren’t convicted and forced to register for life as a sex offender, for life, over a misunderstanding.

    • That’s my fking dad [edit] he was accused at 18 and took a plea bargain and served 2 years in jail for it he didn’t rape anyone if you notice there’s been No incident since then now what he did here he fucked up he didn’t try and flea he didn’t know he hit someone and people screamed for him to stop

      • There really isn’t anything you can say to help the situation. Your dad was intoxicated and killed a young girl. Her family will never be able to enjoy this time of year again. A child was taken away from them, the absolute worse thing that could happen to a parent. The actions of you your dad will be long lasting and full of pain. Try and understand this before you bump your gums about the situation.

      • Hey brian Your right about one thing,your dad is a f***ker. A f***king idiot.

      • Were you there? No was your dad not wasted out of his mind he got out and looked at her and tried to leave he actually moved at lease five feet and that was also before he got out and I had too force him out he would not do it on his own he is a snake peice of Scum on this earth

      • Were you there? No was your dad not wasted as all hell he got out and looked at her and tried to leave he actually moved at lease five feet and that was also before he got out and I had too force him out he would not do it on his own he is a snake peice of Scum on this earth

    • This is my father you are talking about. You know nothing about him or anything that he has done. He was drunk and he is going to pay the price for what he did but please know all the facts before you open your mouth and offend someone who clearly has a bunch of issues already

      • Rusty Shackelford

        Frankly, defending your father’s reputation should be the least of your concerns at this point. Due to his selfish, irresponsible, and criminal act a child was killed and nothing will ever change that. [edit]

        • You don’t know me, but I know you.

        • Are family is a victim here we will end up homeless keep talking shit little pussy internet warrior ill fuck you up what he did is fucked up but talking about his past record that he was accused of and took a plea bargain because they integrated him so you think you are so much better wishing death on some one or judging some one behind a computer like a little pussy doesn’t make you any better you fucking internet terrorist

          • JustWantToHearTheEndoftheStory

            Wow, if you are an example of the company the man keeps, then he is really in trouble. If you are so involved in his life, and that of his family, why are you spending your time reading and posting comments? For that matter, why is the woman who identifies as his daughter wasting time doing the same?

          • Rusty Shackelford

            Your father is in serious trouble and making threats on his behalf is not a wise choice at this time, especially if you’re called in as a character witness.

          • Rusty Shackelford

            Not once have you two demonstrated any sense of remorse for the victim and her family. Instead you’ve decided to argue that your father is victim of circumstance. While you are not responsible for his actions, you are a reflection of his life and based on your comments not a very good one.

      • A. M. Why don’t you go tell that to the family of the young girl that died. How nobody should criticize your dad because he has issues. sounds like one of his issues hurt many more people than just him.He created a lot of pain that will never go away.

      • Fact: He killed someones child!! Her family will never get to see her graduate highschool, go to college, walk her down the isle or see her become a mother. There is no justification or excuse. “He was drunk and he will pay for it”. Unfortunatly, so will her family. [edit]

      • There is no “price he can pay” for taking a life. Once your father goes to jail it will not magically place that little girl in the arms of her family. He can’t undo any wrong. He will live with what he has done but it is nothing in comparison to what that little girls family will deal with. He will run through emotions. But that girl will never live again.

      • Not appropriate to defend you pop in any way, shape or form after his actions that resulted in a tragic death of a young person. You would be better off to shut your trap and visit your father in prison, where he will most likely remain for the rest of his life for his SELFISH decision to drive drunk.

      • Having issues does not excuse what he did!!! I have had issues I had to work through and I have never driven drunk and killed an innocent girl! You love your dad… that’s a good thing. But trying to excuse his inexcusable actions is irreprehensible!!! You should quit trying to excuse his actions and have some empathy for the family who lost their daughter because of him!!! I lost my cousin to a drunk driver and it is a painful, horrible way to lose a loved one!!! Not to mention senseless… my cousins kids will never have a dad because of this jerk and his wife will never have come home at the end of the day again!!! Killing someone because you’re driving drunk is inexcusable… always!!!

      • Sounds like he was a pos at 18 and he’s a pos now. Apparently he never learned to be responsible or take responsibility for his mistakes. He drove drunk, killed someone and tried to run away. No matter what lines of bs he’s fed you about any of his crimes doesn’t make it true. You clearly grew up with the same lack of responsibility and lack understanding for the VICTIMS of his crimes. Grow up, your dad’s not the VICTIMS and do you think he’s the only one with issues? Most of us with issues choose to grow instead of using them as an excuse.

      • sharpen your pencil

        To hell with “his” issues! Your drunk piece of shit dad, ran my cousin down, and tried to flee the scene, had it not been for a light pole and INNOCENT bystanders your “DAD” would have fled and left her pinned under his truck to die like a rodent! There is some FACTS your you!

      • Know the facts? Offend someone? WTF There are no other facts that need to be known other than he was drunk and he ran her down. He isn’t paying for it, she is. And her family…for the rest of their lives. My father was hit by an impaired driver that got away with it and it feels like shit every single day. Your Dad should rot in hell.

      • I think that you need to remember that this was your father’s mistake and you have all the right to be upset too but you have to undeerstand the feeling others are havinv too and maybe instead of making this worse and carrying this on longer you can stop and not just you so it can stop causeing you so much more pain because people are always going to instigate and talk shit but you can keep a level head and be there for your dad and the family he has hurt. This is his mistake so dont get dragged down with it.

      • yes we do !! he ran over a poor young girl drunk and tried to bail !!! maggot!!

      • We know your dad killed a little girl. We know your dad is a creepy dude that would consistently drink and drive from the bowling alley. Shall I go on?

      • He is a murderer, not premeditated, but still a murderer, hope he rots in hell for what he has done! 😣

    • Or try focusing on one persecution at a time. I’d like to say, I hate alcoholics I think alcoholics are literally the worst types of people in the world. I don’t give a rats butt if you have a legit problem you people risk others lives on a daily basis then act defensive rather than taking responsibility for YOUR own shit…… So yes I judge every single drunk, respective or not if you drive around after a drink YOU KNOW what you’re doing regardless of whether or not you drive good after a drink……you are just as bad as the guy who killed a whole family I’m pushing for a 2 strike, you’re screwed if you drink and drive twice in 10 years you should be without a license and thrown in jail for 6 months to dry out, and for KNOWING BETTER. I’m not sorry I HATE ALCOHOLICS. All the same. And this guy I don’t CARE about his past…..he drank and choose to drive risking every other life on the same roads. Unfortunately drunks just won’t learn though. It’ll happen tomorrow. Sad.

    • Yeah well James had just turned 18 when his then 16 year old girlfriends father called the cops and James was arrested and charged with statutory rape, May hap today the fates have told you to swallow the crap you spew about the very things you know not . All people have problems a lot of folks learn from their mistakes . For the parents out there please tell your children that this mans kids are not in control of his actions ….. Nor are they responsible for the teens death,although the anger pointed torwards James kids have caused one to leave school because others made that child feel like this was their fault . Imagine how they feel right now I must say that both of these family’s have suffered this tragedy ,Put away them pitchforks and put out them fires . Hope one day your life ain’t out on front street and god forbid someone treats you like you treat others . Happy Happy Joy Joy

  • So why didn’t they arrest that woman immediately that killed those two girls in Fortuna again???? Good that this pos got arrested immediately for sure. So very heartbreaking for this teenage girls’ family.

    • I dont understand how she could kill 2 girls and still not be in jail. Im glad someone got this guy and held them until HCS arrived. Prayers go out to the family of this girl.

      • the justice is out there for the waiting

        She also got to leave the country to Mexico for a vacay and come back. That’s what sleazy DUI attorneys and weak prosecutors do for you….you get to walk.

    • Witnesses apprehended the suspect**** – Kitchen, kept on driving and didn’t have the chance to succumb to a citizens arrest.

        • She’s the lying, drug using , P. O.S. Who ran down her daughter and her daughters friend while driving drunk.

        • Kitchen, is the name of the woman in question who ran over the 2 teenage girls, since I’m not a public blog or whatever I’m NOT going to use the term “allegedly” to describe this “Itch” who ran over her daughter & her daughter’s friend, got out of the vehicle to check her damage (to make sure she got the job done???!!!) then immediately if not sooner jumped back in her vehicle & hauled ass for home!!!!

    • Good question dantae. My guess is he don’t have her lawyers. Sad she’s not behind bars yet. Hopefully some day

      • sharpen your pencil

        She wasn’t wrestled to the ground at the scene. Thankfully my family will have a better shot at justice because of this fucker getting caught on the scene! I am tired of the ignorance from drunks! Stay the hell off the roads you pieces of worthless shit!

    • The woman in question was “smart” enough to haul ass after the fact!!! Then when the cops came calling, she lawyered up immediately or sooner!!!

      • Really Dan. .smart enough to run! I would not have left my child’s side…..

        • I never said it was right for her to take off She was lucky enough not to get caught at the scene she was “smart” enough to to get back in the vehicle & RUN like Hell for home thus giving her plausible denial!!! Not to mention she hired a Shark lawyer, to (hopefully not) get her nasty self off on the charges!!!! I think she should locked up for life but we shall see what sentence if any she gets after hring the “Shark”!!!

    • Humboldt County doesn’t prosecute women. Three other women had hit and run accidents killing people this year, and they all got let off.

    • Im sure its because she had money, plus “there wasnt enough evidence” its just bs

  • My condolences to the family and friends. What a terrible tragedy for all involved.

  • We’ll see what happens, Drunk Driving is not taken seriously, drivers do not pay the price they should. There are so many drunks on the road here, it’s sickening.

    • agreed!!!!! 85% of the chp watch is for dui, and drunk in public!!!!! At least once a week, sometimes more, someone “arrested” for drunk in public…is arrested a SECOND time in the SAME day!!!!!Sad, their seem to be even more drunks than druggies.

      • Well, alcohol is a drug and one of the most insidious at that. Of course there are more “drunks” than “druggies”, alcohol is socially accepted.

    • amimissingsomething

      The police work very hard to get drunks off the road. I have been on the scene of probably 50 wrecks involving DUI where people were killed. When drunks hit a power pole they don’t leave much of a car and I would go out and replace them. It never ceases to amaze me how many drunks get away with murder. The DA’s office is different from years passed and Maggie F is trying to clean up the mess Gallegos left. DUI has been around since cars were first driven and for the life of me I can’t figure out why it isn’t murder. 4000 lb car with a drunk behind the wheel is a deadly weapon and if you don’t have a DD when you arrive at the bar then it seems premeditated. JMO

      • Its not considered intentional murder. Thats the problem. Its always viewed as a ” the driver didnt do this intentionally” type of thing so they dont get hard time. Which is bullshit. We know what happens when you drink and drive, have for a long time. Misguided sympathy for absolute careless and selfish indulgence. Apparently thats justice…

  • sharpen your pencil

    I’m so damn tired of the POS drunks causing so much unnecessary damage…. Merry fucking Christmas….. [edit]!

  • My condolences to the family.god bless you all.to many young souls were losing,I’m so heart broken.please people please,DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE,call a friend,or a cab,or sleep it off in your car,give your keys to someone.just think

  • For some reason this Dylan song came into my head:
    This was a sad, sad tragedy as was the story that’s conflated in this thread. People lives were lost and others are changed irrevocably. Let your anger be tempered with some compassion for all concerned.

    • bob says we can't be mad

      Too much compassion for the ADDICTED ASSHOLE DRUNK is how our society got to this place bod doran . Every goddamn social event is absolutely STEEPED in booze! It’s sickening. Dead pedestrians are the cost of our blind allegience to the rights of dickheads to stay buzzed on liquor. You seem to be ok with that like “calm down everybody…”
      Zero accountability is how we got here Bob!! What gives? Some countries take your driving priviledge away FOR LIFE if u drive with any alcohol in your system…..!! What is our problem? And shit like this happens over and over and over and you tell everyone to temper their rage? Stop it. You don’t get to chose my emotions. People SHOULD be mad! #madd

      • Summary

        When considering their consistency with numerous animal studies, it is very unlikely that the 50 human studies finding associations between fluoride and reduced IQ can all be a random fluke. The question today, therefore, is less whether fluoride reduces IQ, but at what dose, at what time, and how this dose and time varies based on an individual’s nutritional status, health status, and exposure to other contaminants (e.g., aluminum, arsenic, lead, etc). Of particular concern is fluoride’s effect on children born to women with suboptimal iodine intake during the time of pregnancy, and/or fluoride’s effects on infants and toddlers with suboptimal iodine intake themselves. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, approximately 12% of the U.S. population has deficient exposure to iodine.

        Can you imagine the driver being an illegal immigrant, who wasn’t even supposed to be here. This is what the EU is dealing with now, and coming to our door soon. If you want to be angry, then understand how these things happen, and do something about it. Lots of people probably need to be culled, right? Sharia Law?

        • This is incredibly confused and irrational thinking. It is right down there with the contributor claiming that we need to know the surrounding circumstances of a murdering drunk driver. Some people kill others when driving drunk. Others are just appalling in their rationalizations for friends and relatives who should be put in a cage underground for life as a consequence for the evil which they have done to other humans.

  • Anybody who kills somebody while DUI should be charged with premeditated murder. That includes all the dip shits out they’re stoned out of their minds or higher on whippets or poping prescription pills.

  • RIP little girl so so sorry for the family .what a tragedy.

  • Rest In Peace young one. My prayers and respects to the family and friends. Tragic, just tragic!

  • This saddens me to the core. A young innocent life take (just before Christmas to make things worse). I hate DUI drivers with everything in me. The are the most selfish people….. Ben Okin is probably already licking his chops knowing he’s going to have another client. He just loves helping these scumbags get off for their selfish acts.

  • My heart & thoughts with the family members.

  • We can only pray okin isn’t the attorney

  • So sad

  • first shot is one too many

    horrible!!! Her poor parents. Fuk Drunk drivers and the ASSHOLE bartenders that over serve!!! Fuk HART and dangerous useless plea bargaining. Drunk Dummmmmys never change. And fuk the STUPIDSTUPID friends/fam of the drunk that endlessly make excuses for and drive the loser drunk ass around til he/she scams a scammy “provisional” lisc. Fuck that. This girl is dead!!! SMH. . #madd

  • A straight shooter

    So very Sad , an innocent young teen ager has lost her life, her beautiful life is over before she really even got started, never had a chance to graduate from high school or go to college, never had a chance to fall in love, marry, give birth, be a momma, travel the world dance sing laugh, she’s died way to young! RIP Beautiful Soul


  • Kym: some of these posts are vile. Wondering why they haven’t been deleted.

    Rest in Peace.

    • I have been overwhelmed the last few days and not as on top of the comments as usual. Please help by just replying to comments that you think are problematic with something like this…”Kym, I think this comment needs moderating.” I’ve quickly run through and edited/deleted. If I’ve missed something, let me know.

  • Another drunk trying to flee the scene, this county is plagued by scum like this.

  • I don’t freaking believe this jerk….I say string him up high….so very sorry for the young girls family…our prayers go out many times…………………let’s hope the county doesn’t let his dirt bag go like they did with Kitchen…..still haven’t heard much about her, except her court appearance keeps getting pushed back…..

  • Umm…so…this counts as another homicide in 2016? So sorry for the family. Rest in Peace.

  • ***this is about preserving the health and safety for all of our children ****

    Tracing back the reason we are having such a difficult time with many social aspects of our society. We all need to support each other in making better decisions and helping our community understand the importance of all the environmental impacts and challenges we face, just to raise the next generation of healthy and aware and well prepared kids, to face the challenges to lead successful lives and make better decisions for their lives.

    “The language of SB18 is worse than SB277. The language in SB18 is broad reaching and subject to any interpretation of a judge or CPS. Dr. Pan is a maniac. I don’t care if he’s a doctor. That doesn’t make him compassionate or trustworthy. The opposite is true.”

    We have to establish freedom of health care, regardless of affiliation. Keeping our access to healthy food and nutrition and health care while avoiding the pitfalls of inaccurate policy or education. We all need freedom to choose real health options and solutions, especially in an environment where we need to enforce our right to a 2nd opinion in the face of inappropriate or inadequate first opinions. Stay strong, stay healthy, stay positive about the commitment to our health.


  • Okay. She was someone I knew, and even though I would wish to turn back time, I cant, and none of us can. Even here, there’s so much fighting in these comments. It doesn’t make it better. Think of the families. Why do we express hate here, when no one can change anything? Let’s move forward into the rest of life, and carry the ideas that this teaches us, and be more careful to keep people safe. Please. Don’t drink and drive. Please. Don’t text, have your earbuds in, or anything else that can distract you and lead you to a similar fate. Let’s all be smart.

    • Yes, let’s all be smart. More thoughtful of the process that leads to unhealthy decisions that cause irresponsible actions that affect us all. Let us understand the actions of those who claim to represent us, while allowing the narrative to continue. Aldous Huxley talked about a scientific dictatorship in many public talks before he died. If any of these seemingly senseless tragedies we read about can be traced to a common problem with our relationships to our individual challenges and how we deal with the demands of a community under more pressure to run faster, jump higher, and work longer just to cover the basics, we aren’t addressing the cause, JUST THE SYMPTOMS
      . If we don’t get involved with intergrating a better perspective of how we take care of ourselves and our families, with positive solutions and critical thinking, we cannot expect things to change.
      What are the lessons learned here? I come to these comments to Guage the mindset of people, and I’m often filled with hope to hear people digging deeper into the solutions of positive potential, and yes, just as sad to hear the sharp division and lack of real knowledge of how solve these issues that doesn’t allow us all to be inspired to create nor participate in the solution. Many people who control y/our access to the higher frequency are simply pleased to keep things running smoothly, just the way they are. Our ancestors had a real victory in getting us this far along the evolutionary timeline. I knew a dog that learned how to swim at the age of ten. We can all learn better and more effective tools to deal with things when we can all unify. Experiments on random generation studies showed the biggest measurable effect on our conciousness was recorded immediately after 9/11. The power of our unified thoughts were the highest ever measured. The tsunami in the Indian Ocean, a measurable 2nd. We all may never agree on little things, but from what I take away from the above study, is that when we can truly tap into the potential of what is best for all of us, as families, as neighbors, as members of a community, we are more powerful than the weapons we have created to destroy that sense of community. Let’s see if we can share this kind of energy with our circles and expand the potential for healing and keep this whole thing moving forward. Peace, love and light for all of us doing our best to make it happen.

  • The more you respect the laws,ie:drinking and driving,the more change will come.its an excuse,OH I WAS DRUNK,SO I DON’T KNOW WHAT I DID!!Bullshit.a person knows right from wrong.were born that way.you yourself chose to get in that car after drinking.self worth is hard to come by these days.i wish peace lots of peace this holiday for ALL

  • Geranomo bo-diddly

    God you people are insane. Just let Brian defend his dad – what his dad did is horrible and will be dealt with but in exchange for your freedom of speech you take Brian’s. reading everyone’s comments over this is horrible… one bad thing happened and people jump to conclusions and assumptions led by the highly emotional time that it is. Everyone should get a grip (not close ones to deceased they have the best reason to be a little unzipped right now). Life moves on and everyone will grow. There’s no problem to fix in general just one man to put behind bars.

    • Brians dad not only took away the young girl her freedom of speech but her life and dreams as well. As for Brians freedom of speech, he can say what he wants. and so can we.

  • How very, very sad for all the families of this tragedy! I am constantly on my guard while driving as I notice during late afternoon, early evening & ESPECIALLY in inclement weather just how difficult it is to see pedestrians, animals, cars without headlights. If you’re afoot, please wear clothing that can be SEEN, if you’re driving, turn on headlights so you can be seen, slow down & for God’s sake, don’t drive drunk!
    RIP sweet girl.

  • I am so, so sorry for the family of this young girl. My dearest friend was killed by a DUI on Labor Day this year in broad daylight in downtown Arcata. My life is not the same and never will be. I feel so strongly for this family. We have a big problem here and unless something is done, this will continue to happen. The person responsible for my friend’s death is likely to get one year in county jail and three years after that of probation. Some get less than that. Sound reasonable for taking a precious life?

  • I understand that everyone is upset. Something very tragic happened that night. But you all need to give James’ family a break too. I’m not saying don’t grieve for the young girl. I’m saying grieve for everyone. The whole community was effected especially Tessa and James’ families. Tessa was taken early. James’ is now left without a husband/father in their lives. James’ son is one of my best friends. Don’t attack Brian or his sister. They didn’t make the mistake. Their father did. They love their father and will defend him, but even more, they are heart broken from what happened to the girl. Use some common fucking sense. They aren’t heartless human beings you can take your anger out on because you can’t speak directly to their dad. WE ARE ALL HUMAN AND ALL MAKE MISTAKES. GET A GRIP AND GROW THE FUCK UP. Show compassion for everyone instead of attacking them. If you truely cared, you would not be attacking the family of the driver. [edit]

  • What would have prevented this? Merrick not being able to drive a car when drunk. Apparently he had a history. If people who knew Merrick’s weakness concerning alcohol had intervened and forced him to have a lock-out device on his car that prevented the engine from starting based on the driver’s blood alcohol content, this beautiful child would still be alive.
    There is a fundamental conflict between individual rights and the rights of the community. At some point the rights of the community to safe streets should be superior to an individual’s right to consume alcohol and drive.
    Punishment after-the-fact is too late.

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