Fatal Traffic Accident on the Redway Bluffs Today

 

Leo Durr and Sandra

Leo Durr and Sandra (Image added later)

Press release from the California Highway Patrol:

On September 22, 2017, at approximately 1805 hours, in the Garberville CHP Area, Party #1 [Leo Durr] was driving his 1993 Honda motorcycle southbound on Redwood Drive, south of Evergreen Road at an unknown speed. Party #2 [Ashley Yaxley] was driving her 2017 Toyota Tacoma southbound on Redwood Driver ahead of Party #1. Party #2 was attempting to make a U-turn in the Tacoma by turning to the left. Party #2 realized there wasn’t enough space to complete the U-turn. Party #2 put the Tacoma in reverse and steered to the right. As Party #2 was backing up, the front of the Honda motorcycle collided with the rear of the Tacoma. Party #1 was ejected from the Honda motorcycle and flew over the wood/metal guardrail. Party #1 landed at the bottom of the extremely steep embankment, approximately 250 feet below, and came to rest in the water of the South Fork Eel River.

Party #1 was given life saving medical efforts by Redway EMS personnel, but to no avail. Party #1 was pronounced deceased at the scene at 1844 hours, by Redway EMS personnel.

The Redway EMS, the California Department of Forestry-Garberville and the Humboldt County Coroner provided assistance on scene. Alcohol does not appear to be a factor at this time. This incident remains under investigation by the Garberville CHP office.

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82 comments

  • Idiots on the roadways

    Sympathy for the family.

    • Without all drama she was wrong crossing double yellow… life unnecessarily lost… if moto speeding or if he should have noticed her before, probably won’t know… it’s a shit situation on all sides, and both sides feel it. Neither side needs to be beat on by Internet itchy fingers

  • Oh No!!! No!!!
    My heart goes out to my dearest Sandy. Oh, dear, I know she must be devastated and I am overwhelmed with such shock and sadness for her. Leo has so many good friends and family. Kim, Sandy, Rachel, if I can be of any help please don’t hesitate to get ahold of me.

  • Am i reading this right, pulled a u-turn between evergreen and renner? Wtf? At the turnout across from renner maybe?

    Condolences to family and friends, in our thoughts and prayers.

  • Horrible! So sad! Alcohol wasn’t a factor but stupidity was! She should have her license suspended at least.

  • To impatient to turn around in a safe place and killed someone! Fucking stupid! Makes me sick to my stomach.

    • Yes I agree. I was the first one on scene and called it into 911 and kept her away from the cliff for the 20 minutes before authorities arrived. She looked to be about 18 and still learning to drive apparently. There should be more stringent experiential tests that should take upwards of 6 months to complete before you are granted your licence. Period, case in point. For every state, not just Cal, but especially Cal. .. if anyone wants to corroborate on doing something about this, please contact me at ciege7272@yahoo.com
      Cam you imagine what this poor young girl has to face every day for the rest of her life because it’s so easy to get your licence??

      • Yes, waking up every day. Passengers, folks without CDL, foreigners even children are aware not to turn infront of oncoming traffic and especially putting your car into REVERSE along a DANGEROUS section of roadway! Those lessons s/b common sense. Im sorry, drivers are doing everything these days, while driving down the road. Its long over due, we need to get back to basics and slow the heck down! Myself included.

      • Can you imagine the horror Leo’s family is going through, right now?!? And for the rest of their lives?!? You should not get a pass for being young, or stupid. What’s up with the CHP? This was vehicular manslaughter. That’s when you kill someone with your vehicle, but didn’t mean to. Exactly what she did.

        • I remember having a front end collision where someone pulled into my lane from a parking lot across two other lanes of traffic. I saw her coming but could do nothing but hit the brakes as there was traffic on both sides. She hit me, head turned the other way, while still looking for her opening to pull into traffic. Totally her failt.

          When I walked over to the gas station to make a call, the employees there were in full nasty mode, saying I must have caused the accident because I had front end damage. A whole ignorance not slowing them up a bit. Which is usual with displays of spitefulness.

          It is unlikely that this woman can escape responsibility based on the little known. The part of the story about having to be held back shows she feels it too. But a little self awareness from commenters showing they don’t know everything would not be amiss.

      • You are very thoughtful

  • her license suspended? It was a vehicular manslaughter

  • OMG! My heart hurts for the family & friends. This is horribly sad. Would have beeb completely avoidable by waiting to turn around until it was safe. Vehicular manslaughter is right. Slow down & share the f#$%ing road people!! Gaining 30 seconds was NOT worth a life!

    • Wtf?? So people keep saying “bla bla slow down”. She was practically fkn stopped!!! You must be assuming biker was going too fast. I don’t know about that but he might have been, considering he couldn’t stop or swerve in time.

  • Omg omg omg! He was the coolest dude! Im in awe… Folks are just finding out. What a tragedy!

  • What in the hell was on that chicks mind… Not basic driving 101.

  • I got in an accadent Monday from the other party making an illigal U-Turn.

  • Sally Lippitt Houston

    So terribly sorry to read this. My. Prayers are with Leo’s family.

  • RIP LEO…..😥today is a very sad day….you are such a mighty man to so many of us LEO I loved you…..I love you. My condolences to the family…..im sooooooo sorry.

  • This young girl has no idea the damage she has done by NOT THINKING. I am a good friend and am seeing the devestation she has caused. This piir family is in shambles. He was the strength for so many, including me. I live you Sandra, Kim, Racheal and Hanna Lou. And i will alwaya love you Leo

  • Crackerjackboxlicence

    Sorry but these manuvers “reversed” my faith in younger drivers ( weather texting and so forth) . I try to always remind myself of my sober and experienced loved ones, especially my parents, on the road, and on evenings like these. Please let this be a reminder. To the youth of this community that, if you are indeed a minor as well, you may tell yourself you are an adult and know everything….you have been given a responsibility and if that is to drive, and drive it is carefully and considerate. I am 25, and a local of this gorgeous community, we have all been taught since we were given that right the age of 16 years old, the consequences of our actions, and making such mindless choices. It is hard to see/ hear such sadness. My condolences #PLEASEWAKEUP
    Sincerely,
    tired of seeing my community hurting.

  • Condolences to the family.The driver sounds pretty green at driving,I’m so sorry she made a horrible mistake and I’m pretty sure she’s quite shock up.i hope she’ll be alright.

  • I saw what happened she actually didn’t try to make a uturn or put it in reverse but instead pulled to the right small pullout area and the motorcycle then hit the back of the right tailgate it looked like condolences to the family I know Leo will be missed 🙏🏻

    • Please make sure law enforcement knows you were a witness.

    • At this point I will have to go with the official CHP press release, that says she did reverse and back up, rather than an unofficial version.

    • Dwayne Elizondo Bigleggins

      I’m getting pretty sick of everyone ganging up on the girl. He hit her hard enough to launch himself into the air, over the guardrail and over the cliff. She was relatively inanimate. He had hundreds of yards of visibility. Riding a bike does not make you special. He committed suicide on her car. If she were nothing more than a large rock, would we be giving the rock a lifetime of guilt trips? A deer? Cow? Schoolchildren coming around the front of a stopped bus? She should have stayed out of the road because there are entitled bike riders here? Just exactly what was her infraction?

  • An exceptionally horrible accident. My sympathy to the people so hurt by Mr. Durr’s death.

    I makes me think of the times I made a foolish choice while driving and I was lucky enough that no one, even myself, had to pay for it. Maybe I’ll remember this story and think twice, knowing such a thing can be the result.

  • Never back up on a road with traffic flowing behind you. But half of driving skill comes with experience. This was a terrible accident and may the victim rest in peace but we shouldn’t act as judge, jury, and executioner in this situation.

  • Is it Leo that comes into the Eel River brewery and hangs out with the locals?

    • If you’re talking about Native Leo with the long hair, different Leo.

      • Both of the “Local Leo’s I know from So Hum are about the same age, but I was under the impression that the Leo that was involved lived behind the Redwood Rural Dentistry Office off of West Coast Road, yet two days after this tragic event, I was told by another local that it was Leroy from Sicilito’s. I haven’t spoken with either of them or their families in some time and have no way of contacting either Leo or their families to find out if either of them are okay or (God forbid that it is the old friend I belive it may be) at least be able to give my condolences. Can anyone confirm if it was either of these two men? There may be a 3rd Leo that I don’t know, but regardless of which one it was it was a senseless tragedy nonetheless, and my heart and healing energy goes out to both families as well as everyone and anyone that was impacted or affected by this sad unfortunate event. I was just curious if anyone could please help distinguish rumor from reality.

  • I knew a person who got arrested for attempted murder with a deadley weapon for crossing the double yellow on the bluffs. I thought it was extreme, but not now….yikes

  • Uncle words can never describe how much your very presence in southern humboldt has meant to me your funloving ways taking the burdens of others away if not for only moments was a relief for me always like no other because you have such a great sense of Humor with the personality so very unique it made just about any complaint or problem I thought then I may have been having seem silly or ridiculous to even worry about because you had that way that magical mysterious way about you 🌷 What a wonderful musician uncle Brother and lover you have been 💜look for the banner that says Southern Humboldt this way 🌈 I rest assured knowing that you are in great company and someday I will see all of you again when the tears it been wiped away and all of our memories about such sorrows had but instead celebration and loving embrace shall be ours 🙏🏼I miss you already! My eternal Love to you my brother Wonder

  • If the motorcycle driver saw them making a u-turn, wouldn’t he have slowed down enough to avoid hitting the truck? They were both going in the same direction. Was his speed a factor? I’m just asking a question

    • If he was moving fast enough to be ejected fowards, then it sure was. If he was ejected backwards, then she must have been reversing very quickly.

    • Sounds like saw her make the uturn but didnt expect to have her throw it in reverse and come back into his lane.
      The speed limit is still 50-55 there, ya? Its like someone throwin a uturn on hwy 101 or 299 and backing up into the opposite lane.

      Sorry to say but i hope they throw the book at her, shes goin to have to be made an example of.
      The driving classes these days are all private, and not all up to the same standards, but anyone should know flippin a uturn over a double yellow line in a tight spot is not right.
      Too impatient to go the extra few hundred feet to the big dirt turn out or down towards renner. Thats what really boggles my mind. Seems she pulled a very selfish act and will have to pay for it.

      • Dwayne Elizondo Bigleggins

        My impression is that she did this at the intersection of Evergreen. Did she cross the double yellow? I don’t see that in the report. I see that he hit her tailgate. You should never assume someone knows you are there when they are making a u-turn. You should always assume they are going to do something stupid. You don’t just blow on past them at full speed.

    • She was stopped or reversing, it’s a curve there so visibility could have been limited until it’s to late, speed limit is 55 there and the last thing you would expect is a person sideways in the roadway. Sad situation all the way around, fuckin heartbreaking.

  • >”If the motorcycle driver saw them making a u-turn, wouldn’t he have slowed down enough to avoid hitting the truck?”

    Maybe. IMHO: It sounds like he had taken ‘evasive’ action.
    Even at that, she might have made an ‘un-anticipated’ move though.
    Bummer.

    Motorcycle riders and bicyclists need to be extra aware of what drivers are doing. Always try to make eye contact. If you can’t make eye contact… then slow down and get the hell out of the way… you don’t have any extra ‘armor’.

    (i.e. sheet metal and airbags)

    • The motorcyclist may have been trying to both slow down and try to fit through an opening that kept getting smaller as she backed closer to the guard rail. Based on the description the pickup was probably angled when he hit it which was what threw him over the edge.

      A friend of mine was injured in a somewhat similar accident when the driver pulled to the far right on a dirt rural road then turned left without signalling. I bounced a bike (and myself) obliquely off a car when an elderly gent turned left in front of me without signaling. I was lucky, it destroyed my bike but I walked away from the event.

      Part of this drivers punishment should be restricting her to a motorcycle for several years. She will either be removed from the gene pool or be a lot more aware when she’s finally back in a steel box on wheels.

      What a damned shame!

  • Siblings and several other family members were not notified before Leo’s name was posted.

  • Is this Leo the auto mechanic? One a related topic, I went from Redway to Garberville and back again yesterday and in that short stretch I saw 5 different people who didn’t use their turn signals. That could have led to a nasty accident. Maybe if she’d put her flashers on? … so many maybes. And such a terrible tragedy.

  • I was on bluffs yesterday, realized i forgot to go to evergreen. Guess i am older and wiser cause i went the extra distance to renner turn off. Because that is the right thing to do, everyone is in such a f….in hurry. Guess they don”t care enough not to put others in danger….

  • So sorry for victim, and family condolences to all affected.

  • Drug test would be in order, how can someone be this stupid? When your stupidity takes lives you should be taking the bus!

  • Driving isnt a joke kids

    Its common sense not to do what she did.
    This is manslaughter. See if theres drugs left in her system. This cant be pure ignorance. Get ready for a civil law suit! Its second degree manslaughter .

  • I can’t believe how callous some of these comments are. Yes, it might have been a stupid thing to do. Yes, she should have had more patience. But how many of you knew everything or had patience under 20? This girl will suffer greatly already. Yes, Leo will be missed, but she is alive and will have to live with this. I am praying for Leo’s family and for the girl. We all make mistakes, it’s a roll of the dice sometimes how bad it turns out.

  • As a motorcyclist I would have to say that even when drivers see you they act like you don’t exist

  • I’m so sick of self centered drivers that are so unbelievably lazy with no respect for the law or the lives of other people who share the roadways. It is incredibly reckless to just stop and make a U-Turn blocking the lane of moving traffic and driving backwards into the lane of moving traffic. I hope that you are prosecuted for vehicular manslaughter for your serious and reckless traffic violations that caused this man’s life to end. This was 100% preventable! I also hope they did a drug and alcohol test.

  • This girl obviously f-up but come on to wish her life ruined at such a young age is just too much. It was an enormous mistake on every level but not intentional.
    Everyone’s saying to drug test her which is fine & all but I hope they drug test Him as well. [edit]
    My condolences to the family

    • There better be a tox analysis done on him. Usually a rider can stop very quickly on a decent bike. But this bike was a what, ’93 or something? Probably clapped out with poor breaks. And I’m guessing if she has enough funding to be driving a ’17 Toyota product, her fam will probably have cash stashed to hire a high end attorney. Um, maybe they should contact Marci Kitchens lawyer..

  • so stupid yet so sad 🙁
    Maybe accidents like this wouldn’t hAppen if their was a freeway ramp on evergreen or widen the buffs 😉

    • Yes lol widen the bluffs… that’ll be a priority with all the roads redwood drive is a death prone road, facts say no. So obviously will never happen. Also we have the highway mile away… Doesn’t make sense to do either

  • So many csi wannabees……poor driving = lives damaged.

  • Instead of pointing fingers. Why don’t we pray for the family of Leo. And for the woman ashley. I pray for her. I can’t even begin to think of what she is going through. No matter who is at fault someone has passed and someone has to live with the memory of it. I pray for both family’s.

  • Truly a Tragic occurrence, let’s quiet the hate & take a moment to be grateful this didn’t happen to you or a loved one. Stay off the cell, focus on driving, slow down & remember the road is not yours alone!

  • We love u uncle Leo just remember when u get off the bus jump on the boat ( had to be there) you know who you are Kim Brent Brian Sandra we love u guys and will be there for u like always

  • Everyone seems to be confused as to how this could have happened. There was a picture posted somewhere right after the accident that shows pretty well what happened. The Toyota was originally headed northbound and just in that last corner on the bluffs before evergreen she tried to pull a u turn and didn’t make it. So she ended up in the southbound lane, diagonally, and backed up. Now if he was coming off that straightaway doing 55 and was headed up hill and around that corner, visibility is quite limited this time of year cuz the side of the road needs to be mowed. It’s pretty easy to see how he ended up hitting her truck, it’d take one hell of an evasive maneuver to avoid it even at 40mph. It’s a tragedy and there should definitely be some consequences. Negligence and vehiclular manslaughter is what it is unfortunately. Hopefully she’ll learn something cuz Leo doesn’t he the chance to do it again…

    • Again she was heading southbound as Leo was behind her heading southbound also and as she stopped he then hit her back tailgate, I saw from behind and did not see any reverse lights… not sure where your getting your info at any speeds you should be able to control your vehicle as example deer in the road also he should be tested for alcohol drugs and marijuana as she should too

  • What a bunch of crap!!!! It obviously was not Leos fault! The girl should be punished for making a stupid mistake! Not sent to jail or fined though. She should have to go over to Leos and spend 3 or 4 days with his totally devestated family and friends. Yeah, just let her see what she has really done. I feel bad for all involved. Especially his beautiful family. Sandra, Racheal, Kim, Hannah Lou and his Sister and i havent forgot you Brent. Maybe if she spent a few days there she would possibly stop others from making stupid mistakes like this.
    Leo, would forgive her right away but, i’m not so sure i could. Leo is so loved and needed. Love you all so much. R.I.P. friend. I will never forget you. Thank you for being my friend.

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