Gasquet Firefighters Capture Horrible Scene after Major Injury Crash

vehicle fire

Flames engulf the front of the vehicle as firefighters arrived on the scene yesterday. [All photos used with permission from Gasquet Fire and Rescue]

About 5:30 p.m. yesterday, Bodil Chickinell, age 69 from Brookings, Oregon received major injuries after she crashed into a boulder and her vehicle caught on fire.

Chickinell had been traveling southbound in her 1989 Mercedes on Hwy 199 north of Pioneer Road when for unknown reasons she struck a large rock in the roadway, according to the California Highway Patrol. This caused her to lose control and veer off the west side of theΒ road. There she crashed into a boulder.

 vehicle crumpled against a large boulder.

The vehicle crumpled against a large boulder.

She was taken by Del Norte Ambulance to Sutter Coast Hospital. Gasquet Fire (who provided us the photos) and the California Highway Patrol also assisted.

The front of the vehicle after it was pulled from the boulder.

The front of the vehicle as it was being hauled away.



  • Boulders, rocks in the road are a major hazard around here, 299 is probably even worse. I see or have VERY near misses on that road every week at least, generally at night when visibility is poor on that dark windy road above an icy cold river. More guardrails and consistent speed signs PLEASE!

    • Yeah, 299 is bad. I rarely even drive on it and I’ve encountered rocks on the road many times. About 12 years ago at about 11 pm I had a baseball size rock come off the sheer rock face past willow creek and it took out my passenger mirror. I was glad it didn’t hit the windshield though.

    • 299 only kicks out rocks when it rains… and then when it dries. And when it freezes and when it thaws. And when it’s windy and then is calm. And when the Sun comes out and then the moon.

    • It happened on 199, not 299.

  • Looks like it was on the side of the road in that photo.

    • Article says: struck rock in roadway, went off road and struck (a different) boulder

      My impression: smaller rockfall was in road, he it it and veered off the road and it the cliff side / jutting boulder

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      Looks like the photo was taken before the rescue was made.

  • 2-3 days ago on Loco they reported a vehicle rolled 300ft down 299 and started a small fire, that was the headline, then they just linked to the CHP log. If you read the log and checked the codes, possible suicide, burned body in car, I though it was newsworthy but never heard another peep.

  • I had no idea how bad the accidents were on 199 the last time I was on the road about 2 months ago I saw three bad accidents within a 30 mile area when I got to Medford I mentioned it to the hotel clerk they said oh don’t you know that is the worst highway to drive on 199 and I’ve been driving on it for 40 years and I never knew that before people must slow down and watch what they’re doing especially going through the canyon the road is narrow there are rocks that fall I’m sorry he looks like it was probably very seriously injured not sure what the answer is other than people realize it’s a twisty turny Road

  • Is this the dentist?!

  • That he survived at all… is likely a real testament to the design of the car.

  • Rock dodging on 162 into Covelo is a daily event. Didn’t used to be, because when Sparky Baer worked for CalTrans he made sure the road was clear, night or day, 7 days a week. Now they clear rocks maybe once or twice a week, and never on Friday or the weekend. Evidently these miscreants think rocks take those 3 days off. We give the Sacramento thieves 60 cents of every gallon of gas sold in the State and they can’t keep rocks off the road. Think about it.

  • “when for unknown reasons he struck a large rock in the roadway”
    I’m going to go out on a limb here and say he struck a large rock in the roadway because it was IN THE FRRAKING ROADWAY. That is all…

  • Caltrans makes daily rock patrols several times a day and in the winter, during the night also on all of our state and federal highways. It is impossible to keep the roads clear of rocks in areas where the whole terrain is sliding towards a river. They also have a rock scaling program designed to reduce uncontrolled rock fall in problem areas. Even with this practice in place, rocks will fall onto the road.

    My advice is to slow down and keep your eyes on the road as far ahead as you can see. EXPECT rocks in the roadway even where there are no signs. Deer too. If Caltrans wasn’t clearing the roadway constantly, you would have a lot of rocks everywhere you travel. If you see rocks in the gutter or along the shoulder, those rocks were swept there by a Caltrans vehicle with a blade on the front. Take note of those rocks on the side of the road. They are a sign Caltrans has swept them from the traveled lanes and that more may be in your path.

  • i wonder what kind of vehicle that was?

  • I drove a 1989 560 God those things are tanks and they are loaded with safety devices, that car might have saved his life.

  • I hope he can recover from it, if the vehicle looks like that hes definitely hurting right now πŸ™

  • We lived in Crescent City and used the 199 several times a year. Each time there was a traffic incident .. many times an injury accident… Speeders riding your tail and passing when they shouldn’t are an issue as well as the dangerous road itself.. rock slides, large falling rocks on the pavement.. water runoff during heavy rain.. it’s all a factor. During the time we spent in Del Norte County, there was constant talk of making the road safer and increasing/strengthening the guard rails… but alas….

    To their credit they did install rock nets on the mountainsides in the unstable areas….

  • For the record, Bodill is a smart WOMAN, and chose the Mercedes for a reason. Thank God. “For unknown reasons”…wow. This could have happened to the most skilled driver. Prayers for her recovery.

    • I’ve known Bodil for decades. She is an excellent driver and I’ve only known her to own older, bigger 4 door MB like this 1989 420SEL. Any lesser car and we would have lost a wonderful woman.

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