[UPDATE 4 p.m.] Fiery Fatal Crash South of Laytonville; Flames Spreading

Fatal crash iconFlames are slowly spreading in the vegetation after a fatal and fiery crash south of Laytonville and north of Shamrock Lane, according to the Incident Commander speaking over the scanner.

A blue sedan crashed into a tree around 2:19 p.m., according to the CHP Traffic Incident Information Page.

Flight Tracker shows that Copter 101 responded to the area. The scanner indicates multiple other agencies responded as well.

Caltrans is not yet showing that the road is impacted. We’ll update when we learn more.

Please remember that information gathered from initial reports is subject to revision as more facts become available.

UPDATE 3:01 p.m.: According to one reader, traffic is stopped in both directions on Hwy 101. The CHP can confirm there is a crash.

UPDATE 3:07 p.m.: The reader sent the following photo:

Traffic is backed up quite a ways on Hwy 101

Traffic is backed up quite a ways on Hwy 101.[Crop of a photo from a reader]

UPDATE 3:11 p.m.: The reader is telling us, “Traffic moving very slowly going south.”

UPDATE 3:14 p.m.: Reports from the scene are indicating that the fire isn’t spreading or at least is spreading very slowly.

UPDATE 3:28 p.m.: Steve in the comment section sent us a photo of smoke boiling up from the crash.

Black smoke boils from the burning vehicle and surrounding vegetation.

Black smoke boils from the burning vehicle and surrounding vegetation. [Photo from Steve in the comment section]

UPDATE 4 p.m.: A reader sent us this photo of the burnt vehicle. Note the Cross in the tree on the far left above the vehicle. It likely indicates a prior fatal crash.

A cross marks the spot where the fiery crash took a person's life today.

A cross marks the spot where the fiery crash took a person’s life today. [Photo provided by Joel Siebe]



  • Highway is backed up badly. Laytonville Fire Dept. just passed by with an ambulance, fire engine and water tender. As for now the highway is locked up.

  • Traffic moving now but very slowly.

  • Damn that’s three accidents I’ve seen today alone on the 101.

  • South of Laytonville.

  • I hope they didn’t swerve because of an elk right there. I nearly hit one about a week ago in that same spot.

    • My sister witnessed it. There were no elk.

      • He is my good friend from West Los Angeles if you can please give me a email or email me with any information it be highly appreciated we’re sort of in the dark right now thank you

  • 1 way controlled traffic, here is a picture of the burnt up vehicle I managed to get

  • Traffic stopped going south bound!

  • This is why people need to drive carefully on a stretch of road where children are getting picked up and dropped off by the school buses. We will end up with dead children hit by vehicles speeding on 101 like there have been so many lately around this country. There are so many accidents on this particular stretch of road!! SLOW DOWN!

  • Not a good spot to not be paying attention.

  • Maybe its just me but i keep seeing people texting even on the narrow 2 lane parts of 101. They start drifting towards the edge then overcorrecting, it feels super dangerous to be driving behind that.
    Those console video screens for radio, etc are pretty damn distracting too.

    You cant look away on these narrower areas in particular, wait for a pullout please! Theres nothing between you and a car coming the other way besides two lines of paint and some reflectors. Much of 101 was not designed for high speed driving.
    Its not just the highway, read the comments of the pedestrian hit in mckinleyville, witness saw driver on phone not paying attention.
    How do we deal with this problem? For real does anyone have ideas?

    • Its ok to go slower.

      That’s the plan with the soon-to-be-coming self-driving cars. Plus, like the case of the run over pedestrian, perhaps some much heavier penalties (and driving restrictions and drivers training) might be what is needed.

    • Driverless cars. Sooner than you think.

    • We pass new laws that increase the penalties for negligence behind the wheel to equal the penalties for DUI. That’s how to deal with bad driving behavior.

      • I hear ya but its only as good as the enforcement of those rules.
        Folks i know in so cal say the talking/texting while driving regs just arent enforced down there, some of them didnt even know its a few hundred buck ticket.
        So all these folks are used to driving while using phone.
        A chp told me its really hardfor them to prove impaired driving due to device usage. Unless they see you driving&talking how can they prove anything besides swerved driving. It would be good for them to do another campaign about dangers of text-driving and lay out the penalties that exist.
        Maybe first offense could be 30 hours community service shoveling pig poo at sheriffs farm.
        Unfortunately the folks who just cant pay the dui fees end up in jail instead taking needed space. Community service makes much more sense than having to either come up with $10,000 for all your dui fees (first offense) or do time in jail if youre poor.
        So how can we make enforcable rules that have a strong deterrent which includes mandatory community service rather than jail which costs us all money?

        • The laws prohibiting cell phone use while driving a car are already on the books, so tickets could be issued for violation of that law regardless of suspected impairment. Problem is, this law is simply not enforced.

          And it’s not a SoCal thing. Just stand on a corner on 101 in Eureka and you’ll see the number of drivers on their phones, both stopped at lights and driving. It’s also really bad in the Bay Area.

          My favorite violation is the people who hold their phones like a walkie talkie and talk away. They know that holding the phone to the ear is a dead give away that they are breaking the law so they modify their behavior. These people KNOW they are breaking the law.

          I just don’t understand why more people don’t buy a $20 bluetooth. While they don’t eliminate the risk, it does diminish it. And it’s sooo much easier to use!

      • instead we need to stop allowing others to blame each other and start taking direct responsibility for our own safety. if you dont think a road is safe then dont drive on it. if you dont think people should be texting while driving then stop textibg people that might be driving . all this blame yet that is all it is. just because someone should be doing something doesnt mean you should not expect them to be doing it.

        • How do you protect yourself if you live up the only road available and it’s narrow, steep and twisty with no shoulders? How to you tell some is driving so you know not to text them?

          There is only one person to blame and that’s the one engaging in the risky action.

    • One could develop a device that doesn’t allow texting when a vehicle is moving. How can it tell if it’s moving? The GPS is sensitive to about 15 feet. So, if a vehicle, doesn’t matter what kind, the software would detect the movement and not allow any texting software to be used. It would still work as long as the vehicle wasn’t moving.

      • That would be perfect, but those riding as passengers might be hindered. Maybe if there was some sensor in the steering wheel that disabled a phone that was between the steering wheel and the drivers seat…now that would make things safer.

      • please stop this kind of thinking. [edit] ever heard of an emergency. maybe your kid got kidnapped and you had to drive and be on your phone at the same time? now that is just one example there are so many others to be made. stop trying to control everyone and put them all in a little box

        • Maybe I’m driving with my kids and the person coming the other way is texting and slams into me head on, injuring or killing me and my family.

          What about my safety, and others like me?

          THat’s a far more realistic scenario than the need to text because ones kids were kidnapped.

          Why not just say “What if aliens were trying to abduct me while I’m behind the wheel….”

          My solution is simple: pull the FUCK over and text or have your phone conversation.

    • It is why we must -sadly- move to computers to drive for us. People continue to show they are too stupid and self-centered to be trusted. Time and time again we are given privileges, and we turn around and abuse them and start thinking we have a ‘right’ to act as stupid as we want. It is sad, but it is true.

  • That tree they hit with the cross is the same tree and area where a trucker killed a couple kids in an accident years ago.

  • He didn’t die alone. A wonderful young female passerby ran out of her car and did all she could to try to get his door open. She used fire extinguishers, flagged for help and did all she could. I’m sure this will haunt her for the rest of her life.

  • Several passerby’s, a tribal police officer and myself did everything we possibly could to try and free this man from the wreckage and flames but we just could not get him out. The sounds and chaos of the situation are something those there on scene will never forget. Prayers to his loved ones I wish we could have done more.

    • Thank you for the efforts of all who tried.

    • there are truly many wonderful selfless caring people in this world!! thank you for your efforts, you are all heroes trying to help in time of need, god bless all

      • Hello I am a close friend of this man and his family. Thank you for all you did to save his life. Do you know if he was conscious or unconscious after hitting the tree while you were trying to free him from the car?

    • He was my girlfriend’s brother.

      Did you happen to see the accident occur? When you arrived on the scene and tried to open the door, was he still alive?

      Thank you to everyone for your condolences, this is truly a tragedy.

    • Dean, you are an angel. My hero.. I was on scene beside you. You all have not left my mind.. my deepest condolences to the family. You all will forever be In my prayers

  • what a horrible way to die.

  • kym, my friend is related to this young man that passed. was going to post his name but am not sure if that is okay

  • My brother also tried to help get the door open. He had a mattock in his trunk but despite trying very hard, he was unable to open the door. I am thankful for those who do their best to try to help others. Our sincere condolences to this family.

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