[UPDATE SUNDAY] Fatal Accident Closes 101 North of Willits, According to Witness

A vehicle burns as shocked onlookers attempt to remove lumber from the road.

A vehicle burns as shocked onlookers attempt to remove lumber from the road.[First two photos provided by Chris Brannan]

A major accident has closed Hwy 101 north of Willits to the north of Outlet Creek Road. At least one person appears to be deceased.

A semi and another vehicle collided. The one vehicle caught fire with at least one occupant inside. The semi spilled an entire load of lumber across the roadway.

Southern Humboldt resident Chris Brannan who provided the photos here reports that he was one of the first on the scene. “We all ran down with fire extinguishers and started pulling the wood off of the road to get the emergency vehicles a lane…while others pulled the bodies out and started CPR.”

He said, “I watched them pull one body from the burning SUV…nor sure if there was another one…Then they were starting CPR on what those closest said was the truck driver…although I can’t confirm this.”

traffic accident lumber car fire

UPDATE 2:51 p.m.: According to Brannan, “Fire is out…emergency vehicles on site…the officer by me is speculating that 101 will be closed for a while due to the fatalities/investigation…”

UPDATE 3:18 p.m.: According to Brannan, the truck driver is alive and another reader is reporting to us that she spoke to a family member who says that he is okay.

We want to caution that these are unconfirmed reports in an ongoing emergency situation. Please remember that information gathered from initial reports is subject to revision as more facts become available.

UPDATE 3:29 p.m.: Brannan reports, “A loader is pushing the lumber out if the way now.”

UPDATE 3:36 p.m.: Brannan reports that a Coroner’s van is on scene now and the road is still closed.

UPDATE 3:43 p.m.: Brannan reports there is one-way controlled traffic now.

UPDATE 4:39 p.m.: Alan Krause sent us these photos from the scene:

Traffic Accident.

[Photo by Alan Krause]

Traffic Accident.

[Photo by Alan Krause]

Traffic Accident.

[Photo by Alan Krause]

UPDATE 5:30 p.m.: One reader described sitting in traffic for over an hour. She provided this video of the tow truck with the burned vehicle.




  • Horrible. But thanks to all those who helped. It can be a very hard thing to do.

    • I was driveing up that same hill about this time last year the ground was just starting to get wet when a truck past me slide out did a 360 was in both lanes good thing thar was no on comeing traffic I can see how this could easily happen

  • north of Reynolds Hwy & Schow Rd on Hwy 101 on Oil Well Hill

    There is no Outlet Creek Rd… but Hwy 101 does cross Outlet Creek at Reynolds Hwy & Schow Rd

  • There is an Outlet Creek Rd. but it does not go to 101.

  • Speeding or unsafe/illegal lane changing/passing. The usual Darwin Award stuff.

    • You really suck.

    • [edit] The driver of the burned vehicle is family. Someone with children, grandkids, parents, people that love them both. The loss of human life is not a joke, and your rude comments where her children can see is inexcusable. Darwin move? The only Darwin stuff i see is your sick ill-timed comment that proves to anyone who runs across your heartless post that you are most certainly NOT Mr. Right. Whatever the details of the accident are, even if you SAW it, still resulted in a major loss for some of us. A piece of advice…work on developing some class and possibly make it a goal for yourself to learn what being appropriate means before folks really find out what kind of a person you are; And if you happen to be a decent human that happened to lose control over your faculties momentarily, either leave well alone or show some heartfelt decency with a sincere apology. It was not exactly an enjoyable experience to recieve the hysterical phone call that I got, and to immediately see your comment following that phone call was really over the top. Please work on being a kind human since you are obviously already a perfect driver

    • [edit] that was my daughter and granddaughter. I pray your family never has to live with the aftermath of an unbelievably horrendous accidents.

      • I’m really sorry for your loss. I loved your granddaughter.

      • I’m so sorry! I can’t believe people talking like this

      • I’m so very sorry. No words will make this better and I know this but I’m still so sorry. ❤️

      • So sorry for your loss

      • My heart breaks for your family…I can’t even imagine the pain and loss…May you and your family somehow find peace tonight…My prayer and thoughts are with you…May your Daughter and Grand-Daughter rest in peace…I am so sorry for your loss….

      • I am so sorry for your loss. My boyfriend and I were some of the people who stopped and helped clear the road. We both have lost children and I can imagine what you are going through. He lost his 18 year old daughter to a semi truck collision and I lost my 20 year old son to an allergic reaction. It was strange that we would be there when we were there. We started out hours earlier than expected and made a stop right before. We stood by one of the girls when she passed. We didn’t leave her. If it brings any peace to you and your family we felt like she was very much at peace and was at ease at her crossing. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

        • I am the young lady who passed away in that accident step father can you please clarify something for me I need to know who was driving the dodge when they wrecked

          • We saw only one girl after we all cleared the road. This is the woman/ girl we stood by while emergency people were with her.( she had her hair in a high pony tail.) We were traveling from Willits and the lumber prevented us from getting to the truck. I gave my number to another woman on the scene who was in front of us and who possibly saw more. Please know that everyone really worked hard to do everything possible. If she contacts me I will ask her to post on here to you. Again, I am so sorry and our hearts go out to you. My boyfriend and I have both lost children and he to a big rig accident.

    • The family really does not need this kind of comments.

  • It was a triple fatality. Really sad,

  • thank you to all the caring passersby, never know when this kinda thing gonna happen, thank you for getting involved and helping out, heroes every one of you

  • How does one take full responsibility? I understand thoughts and prayers. That is good for all parties. When is enough going to be enough for families? Every accident is called an accident, why? Laws need to change, and safer drivers and roads.

  • Semis do not belong on roads with normal sized vehicles! That’s why we need the rail!

    • Uncle George…..you are saying three fatalities? Are you sure about that?? And if so how? Curious, haven’t seen any report on it, the article said one. And Diamond…….are serious right now? Yes rail would be great to have back but, no big rigs on the road is moronic.

    • true fact thr federal hwy system is for interstate commerence first and secondly for travel. that is why when they close down interstates thry normally try to keep one lane open for the big rigs. truckers and truck companies pay more in 5 years in permit and other fees than most folks pay in a life time. but the planet is over populated as it will get worse. if you wish to do something to slow it down do not have children and concider reducing your personal impact to zero.

    • [edit] We have every right to be on the road. It’s not our fault people are impatient and risk lives to get around us. And just because a rail system will somehow help with accidents, how are the goods going to get to the stores? Answer that,[edit].

      • First of all, obviously you are a trucker. Well let me tell you this, as a driver trucks are the ones driving way too fast and reckless around other cars. They are a lot bigger to protect themselves as cars are not. We even pull a travel trailer driving at legal speed if 55 and have trucks flying by us and way too close cutting us off. Especially loggers as we head to the coast. Is horrible. So don’t be putting all the blame of car drivers. Truckers need to take blame too

      • Goods can be moved by rail. Many accidents are caused by big trucks. And guess what? It’s always the folks in the autos who get killed. You can’t see around, ’em to gage what’s ahead…Can’t see over them to see if there is a stop light ahead. They do massive damage to our highways due to overloading. And don’t ya know there’s always a deadline. Gotta make that speed to get that money. And then what? Turn around and do it all over again.

        • That’s funny. Look at the data. Accidents involving trucks are caused by the cars. Another thing, trucks are limited to 80,000 pounds. No more than that. That’s why there are truck scales. And yeah if you can’t see around them, then maybe you should back off the bumper. This accident was not caused by the truck. I know this because I know that driver. You have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about. Yeah goods can be moved by rail. We haven’t had a railroad in years. You think these impatient drivers are gonna wait for a train to cross? Bottom line, the cars are the ones who are usually at fault because it’s all about them. Do your research before typing [edit].

          • This. Thank you Jon. He is a very good man.

          • You say that the semi driver was a good driver been driving for years. Then explain this to me if you see a car cross into your lane what is one of the main things that all drivers handbooks say to do? Can’t answer it can you. Well let me tell you it says to always steer to the right no matter what!!! Never steer to left because the other could suddenly go back into their lane and if you steer to left you have now put yourself in their lane. The lady that was driving lost control of her truck because of the wet pavement not because she was passing someone and if the driver of the semi would not have made the wrong decision by going to the left and made the right choice and went to the right like all of the drivers head books tell you to do then my step daughter and her aunt would still be alive they may have still wrecked but at least they would still be here with us. So don’t blame this on the car this was a poor decision by the semi driver

        • the numbers show 4 wheelers cause over 75% of traffic collisions involving trucks and cars

          • See? 74%. Goes to show, yes there are bad seeds, but it’s not always our fault. But what do I know? I run with a dashcam in my truck, and yes it’s always on. And I’ve seen more impatient drivers drive recklessly in cars than trucks. In fact, if I complied all my footage, I’d have a damn movie. So, there. Data wins. Think before you speak. Thank you. 🖕🏻

            • Maybe that’s because your always blocking traffic and you think that you don’t have to pull over and let people by because you don’t want to lose your momentum and I have had plenty of semis riding my ass over all the years I have been driving and another thing they think that they have a bigger vehicle so they try to push their weight around. Semi drivers are just as unsafe as a driver of a normal size car. And I can show you plenty of video footage to back that up

          • Look at that. 74%. That has to show that it’s not ALWAYS our fault. [edit] We have more weight, and little room to deal with, and [edit] are so self entitled to get in front of us all costs. Yeah there are bad truckers, but I’m not one of them, and never is this driver involved!!! [edit] people are so quick to put the blame on us, [edit]fail to sit back and realize, f[edit]’re the problem! I run with a dashcam in my truck, and the amount of stupidity I see amazes me!!! Think before you speak. Data always wins.

        • Get over it, diamond, quit being unreasonable. You’re not getting a freaking train. No trucks mean Garbageville would’ get any lumber or big products for their stores

        • Looks like you have no clue what your talking about. The pickup truck was ruled at fault while speeding and the simi was driving the speed limit. The pickup lost control and the simi was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Look it up the police say the pickup was at fault. Like said by others more then 80% of truck involved accidents are created by the cars not the truck. And you can look it up because this is facts.

        • Too one sided opinion. I’ve seen rude drivers in cars mess with truck drivers. Trucks don’t stop on a dime.
          They are the reason you can go grocery shopping and so forth. I’ve gone down that road. I had to pull over several times for fast drivers.

          • How about we quit trying to blame someone and think of the families involved. This is an awful ‘accident ‘ and two awesome people were lost. Family (including me) do not need to see these hateful remarks posted.

      • You guys are the ones who are impatient from being on the road for so LONG!!! I have personally been RAN off the freeway coming from sac by SEMI and guess what WASNT MY FAULT it would have been HIS!!!!

      • I agree! I grew up in trucks and those drivers are amazing. People in cars are so impatient and rude to them be cause they slow on a hill or slow down a hill. People don’t even have a consept of how heavy those loads are going up and the risking burning brakes going down. These same people complaining about trucks will also be complaining about empty shelves at the store when they go to shop so they just need to stop. I just slid off a cliff yesterday on grapes from harvest, oil and the very first rain. I wasn’t even speeding and it still happened and I rolled multiple times down a cliff until I hit a tree. No truck involved. Truckers need to be respected and this isn’t even the place to take up this debate. People lost there live horribly yesterday and I got lucky and crawled out. It’s a huge wake up call to really just relax and leave early if you have to but don’t blame the trucker first thing. This is all around tragic and these unnecessary comments should be deleted because they are simply rude and these people’s families are on here. Give them some respect. I’m sorry to all that lost family today :(. One more thing, anyone named “ Mr Right” is probably never right because that is a ridiculous arrogant title. Wtf

      • I see it all the time. You are correct, but I also see a lot of truckers trying to race out cars and don’t allow passing when appropriate. This I also understand because you would be pulling over a million times in one trip if you did. 2 lane highways are just a crap situation!

    • If normal size vehicles would drive like a human being and not like a total Moron, there would be less accidents between semis and motor vehicles!! I see it all the time, it’s 85 o/o motor vehicles doing stupid stuff causing accidents!!!

    • So a pickup crosses the line and hits a semi and the semi shouldn’t be on the road? Get a clue.

  • This is the second time this year that Chris B was the first on the scene of an accident. http://kymkemp.com/2018/03/29/vehicle-crashes-off-the-avenue-alert-citizen-sees-and-calls-for-help/
    Not sure if he just drives a lot and/or if it is just fate that a capable man is available to help.
    Thanks Chris!

  • I’ve moved away now, but Om mani padme hum anyway – go slow and be safe to get where you are going, everyone. At least it wasn’t a rockslide!😓💛💐

  • [edit]

  • The two fatalities in the pickup were family. It is hard to see these pictures and video.

    • I am sorry, Nira, for your loss.

    • I am so sorry. My husband and I were there today. We had a fire extinguisher and we moved as fast as we could. Did our best to try to help. It is devastating to say the least. Our thoughts are with you and your family.

    • I agree. I thought it was sad when I first saw them. But when I got the phone call of who it was and how it is going to be very painful and affect so many young people, for so many people close to me and after I wailed and cried my eyes out, seeing the pictures again just now sickened me.

  • Please keep it positive. No one knows what happened and you guys are just spreading rumors that us family and friends DO NOT NEED! If you don’t have facts…don’t post!!! End of story!!!

  • What I have learned is to be careful about my first impressions of a situation. Usually, I don’t know the truth…. the reality…. the pain of another individual. It is so easy to be glib and opinionated. To flaunt and try to steal the attention of the injured or dying or dead. The fact is: it is best to swallow that first impression and look and think and wait. This is a very, very small and precious community….. we people of Humboldt County. Be tender, be kind, be gentle, be helpful.

  • First rain is always very dangerous….driving in town earlier today i saw iridescent streaks of oil and white soapy foam from the rainwater run off. My condolences to those family members who lost a loved one

    • My first death of a friend occurred when an experienced driver, driving 45 mph just south of Honeydew exit on 101, going south, lost control of his vehicle due to first rain of the season. The oil from vehicles driving all summer long lifts off the pavement and results in ice like conditions. Very difficult driving conditions. Perhaps this was the same. No speeding or trucks were involved. The friend was in the fifth grade. Sorry for the loss.

  • Bitch Bitch Bitch assume assume assume if it was caused by someone having a stroke or some or uncontrollable medical issue you Best confess to all how much of a dumbass you were!!!

  • Heartfelt love and kindness going out to the family that is left behind to mourn the loss here today. Accidents happen all the time!!! So sorry for all involved 💕These two that died in this accident are also tied into my family !!!!!

  • Thoughts are with the family of the deceased. I know first hand how this feels and my heart hurts for them. 💙

  • I am soooo sick and tired of semi truck drivers getting a bad rap. I personally know this driver and he is a good man and a safe driver. Now he has to live with the fact that two people lost their lives in a wreck that he was involved in. I’m not saying it never happens but 3/4 of the time it’s usually not the semi’s fault. Usually it’s the car or truck who gets impatient and tries to pass and causes a wreck. Remember we all have to share the same road so let’s be respectful of one another.

  • Prayers for EVERYONE, we lost some amazing people today 🙁 I love you all and are praying for this family

  • Just because you can go fast doesn`t mean you can stop or steer. Almost certainly this was the result of too fast for conditions. The conditions in the case likely being a damp and exceptionally slippery road. Slow down before you kill someone!


  • as a retired flagger, I’ve seen a lot of close calls.
    bottom line and fault aside, when you turn that key, you accept the risks and challenges of being in a moving metal (sic) vehicle.
    be ready! you may be the one this time!
    sorry for your loss.

  • Chris Brennan has another name. [edit]

  • I am so very sorry for the loss of precious life in this accident. My prayers and thoughts go out to family and friends who have lost a loved one in the accident. ❤️🙏

  • Their are bad drivers(distracted,drugged/drunk,speeders,flat out shouldnt have licences) and everytime you drive you encounter them.

  • The FACT is, this was the first rain in 3+ months, and over the summer grease & oil builds up on roadways {everywhere}, and the oils LIFT when it rains, so the first rains are always more dangerous.

    SLOW down in these conditions…

  • This whole situation is horrible and it has affected so many people. We hope that everyone remembers that the family of those that passed have access to this and can see everything. Please, have some compassion. Our children and their families are going through enough right now without having to see some of these horrible comments.

  • What? 🤦
    How did this tragedy get turned into a debate about rights, rules, laws and regulations?
    I do not know anyone on here, nor the family real well, but I am going to apologize for all humanity that list their minds in here.
    From my family to ALL affected by this tragedy we send our SINCERE condolences, prayers and healing to you ALL

  • So sorry for your loss

  • I’m sorry for your loss, it’s such a tragedy.
    Said it before! We trade hustle & bustle for the serenity of this beautiful region of the world (& it is awesome!) for those who want to appreciate it.
    I hope the compassionate, caring, heartfelt comments overshadow those of an arrogant individual. I’ve driven this highway from Humboldt to Ukiah many times for the last 48 years & while safety is always on my mind, accidents do happen no matter how much caution is taken. But I’m sure y’all know that. Fatalities are just so sad & life changing for all parties concerned, even the 1st responders to which we owe such respect.
    The 1st rain in the fall can indeed cause an oily, slippery road. Be safe out there.

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