Deputies Chase Motorcycle Through College of the Redwoods and Beyond

Kym Kemp / Friday, Oct. 17 @ 1:27 p.m. /  Crime

Humboldt County Sheriff press release:

On 10-16-14, at approximately 11:45 p.m. a Humboldt County Deputy Sheriff driving a marked patrol car near Bear River Casino was flagged down by a citizen. The citizen told the deputy two motorcyclists had been involved in the purchase of multiple pounds of marijuana and just left the area. One of the motorcyclists was carrying a large army duffle bag which contained the marijuana. 

The deputy began checking the area for the motorcyclists. The deputy saw two motorcyclists matching the description provided in the area of Singly Hill Road and the Casino. As the motorcyclists turned onto Singly Hill Road, one of them failed to stop for the stop sign. The deputy attempted a traffic stop on the motorcyclist who failed to stop and who was carrying a large army duffle bag. The motorcyclist was riding a blue Yamaha 2006 motorcycle. Instead of yielding to the deputy, the motorcycle sped off and entered onto southbound US 101. The motorcycle accelerated to over 90 mph. The motorcycle then exited at Palmer Boulevard and then re-entered US 101 northbound with the deputy still pursing it. The motorcycle again accelerated to high speeds, this time accelerating to over 110 mph northbound on US 101. Due to the extreme speed, the deputy terminated the pursuit in the interest of public safety. 

Additional deputies responding towards the area from Eureka saw the motorcycle enter College of the Redwoods parking lot. As the deputies arrived at College of the Redwoods to look for the motorcycle, it again fled the deputies, back onto US 101. The deputies did not pursue the motorcyclist as it traveled southbound on US 101 in the northbound lanes at a high rate of speed, weaving in and out of traffic. The deputies lost sight of the motorcycle at Hookton Road where the motorcycle exited the freeway. 

A deputy traveling on Thompkins Hill Road spotted the motorcycle in the 3100 block. The motorcycle was parked and partially covered up with wooden pallets. Deputies and a Eureka Police K-9 searched the area for the rider and did not locate anyone. The motorcycle was impounded and the Sheriff’s Office is following up on leads as to the rider’s identity. 

Anyone with information for the Sheriffs Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriffs Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriffs Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.

Anonymous Donor Gives Sheriff’s Department Over $9000 to Buy Tasers

Kym Kemp / Friday, Oct. 17 @ 1:19 p.m. /  News

Humboldt County Sheriff press release, 

Sheriff Michael Downey is pleased to announce that on 10-17-2014, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a $9,600.00 check from an anonymous donor. The donor learned the Sheriff’s Office was in need of additional Tasers for the patrol division, so the donor provided a $9,600.00 check to the Sheriff’s Office. This will allow the Sheriff’s Office to purchase eight additional Taser which cost approximately $1,200.00 each. All patrol deputies will now be outfitted with Tasers which the Sheriff’s Office has been issuing to patrol deputies since June 2003. The Taser has proven to be one of the safest and most effective tools in modern police work. It gives deputies another non-lethal force option when dealing with resistive and violent suspects. 

Tasers have helped our deputies and the citizens we serve. They have allowed us to take resistive and violent suspects into custody minimizing injuries to the suspect or our deputies. This generous donation will assure all our deputies have this valuable tool,” Humboldt County Sheriff Michael Downey

Trinity Sheriff’s Office Headed West on Hwy 3

Kym Kemp / Friday, Oct. 17 @ 8:20 a.m. /  marijuana



Reportedly, there are approximately ten Trinity County Sheriff’s vehicles headed westbound on Highway 3 this morning. The convoy just passed the Fairgrounds in Hayfork about 10 minutes to 8 this morning.

On October 8, a similar convoy was responsible for multiple arrests on a property in Trinity Pines. See photos and press release here.

Dragging Large Bags of Marijuana, Suspects Ran From Trinity County Sheriff’s Department

Kym Kemp / Friday, Oct. 17 @ 6:27 a.m. /  marijuana

Trinity County Sheriff’s Office press release:

On October 9, 2014, Officers with the Trinity County Narcotics Task Force and NSMIT served a search warrant for cultivation of marijuana on private property in the Trinity Pines area of Trinity County. Upon initial entry into the property ten (10) subjects were located in the three large plots of growing marijuana. Four (4) subjects were immediately contacted by Officers and were detained. Six (6) other subjects on the property ran from Officers while carrying and dragging large bags of processed marijuana.

All six (6) subjects who ran from Officers were apprehended and the processed marijuana was recovered. Officers located multiple scales, a firearm, U.S. Currency, approximately 200 pounds of processed marijuana and 265 growing marijuana plants. Due to the size and weight of the marijuana plants extra vehicles were called in to assist with the removal of the marijuana plants. All ten (10) people were arrested and transported to the Trinity County Jail where they were booked and released. 

Persons Arrested:

Johnny Vang, DOB: 06/12/1974

AJ Vang, DOB: 06/15/1971

Yee Vang, DOB: 06/15/1978

Chue Vang, DOB: 06/16/1964

Pangdao Yang, DOB: 10/19/1980

Debbie Her, DOB: 09/06/1983

Bao Vue, DOB: 05/18/1992

Neladorn Vue, DOB: 11/11/1993

Gina Chang, DOB: 06/15/1969

Mee Chang, DOB: 06/15/1962


11358 HS – Cultivation of Marijuana 11359 HS – Cultivation for Sales

182 PC – Conspiracy to Commit a Crime

Agency’s involved:

North State Marijuana Investigation Team (NSMIT) Trinity County Narcotics Task Force

[Now With PHOTOS] Semi Rollover North of Leggett Closes Lane on Hwy 101

Kym Kemp / Thursday, Oct. 16 @ 7:59 a.m. /  News

UPDATE 1:50 p.m.: Photos provided by Caltrans.

UPDATE 1:14 p.m.: California Highway Patrol press release:

On October 16, 2014, at approximately 0545 hours, Gary Simmons was driving a Mendocino Forest Products Peterbuilt logging truck and trailer northbound on US 101, just south of Bridges Creek, near Leggett, CA.  For reasons still under investigation, Simmons was unable to negotiate the curvature of the roadway.  The Peterbuilt truck and trailer traveled off of the east roadway edge, and subsequently overturned, partially blocking the northbound lane of US 101.  Logs on the trailer became separated and collided with an ascending dirt embankment, just east of the road edge.  Simmons sustained minor injuries as a result of the collision.  No additional vehicles were involved.  Alcohol is not a factor in the cause of this collision. 

Approximately 5 gallons of diesel fuel spilled onto the roadway.  No waterways were affected by the spill.  One-way traffic control on US 101 was facilitated by CHP and Cal-Trans from approximately 0545 until approximately 1000 hours. 

Mendocino Forest Products, Cal-Fire and Cal-Trans are assisting with the clean-up of the logs and diesel spill. 

This collision remains under investigation by the California Highway Patrol, Garberville Area.


Original post:

A semi has rolled onto its side near Bridges Creek on Hwy 101 about five miles north of Leggett. Caltrans spokesperson, Betsy Totten said that one lane has been closed and a small amount of fuel has spilled.

According to CHP dispatch, the driver is bleeding from the head and has a hand injury.


Fire Crews Save Marijuana Harvest [Dog Found]

Kym Kemp / Wednesday, Oct. 15 @ 4:02 p.m. / Fire! ,  marijuana

Fireman rescues marijuana from burning building. [Photos provided by Kim Sallaway—Like his Facebook page to check out more of his photography.]

This afternoon, marijuana was saved from being prematurely set aflame as firefighters in Redway struggled to put out a fire in a drying room attached to a home off Redway Drive. According to Cal Fire Battalion Chief Marty Hobbs, the cause is under investigation but the fire apparently occurred when a fan used for circulating the air malfunctioned.

Hobbs explained that the room was initially difficult to access. The homeowner eventually showed up to check on her rental and was able to provide a key.

Heaters and fans were running when we got in,” Hobbs explained. Low hanging marijuana made it difficult for crews to enter the structure. Firefighters would have had to crouch down very low to find the fire source.

The stuff was in our way,” Hobbs said. Normal procedure is to remove items that block access. “When contents are in our way, we remove it out of the building,” he explained. If there is enough firefighters on the scene, Hobbs said, crews will also typically salvage items of importance to the resident. “If there is anything of value—computers, pictures—if we have extra personnel, they’ll start taking out anything to protect it from damage.”

In this case, a tarp was spread on the ground. Firefighters carried out armfuls of cannabis and heaped in on the tarp. “It is still there,” he explained, “and it is going to be there when we leave.”

During the firefighting, the marijuana, Hobbs said, was “re-hydrated.” He explained that he doesn’t know enough about the crop to speak to its condition but he stated that a local was able to explain that “it was salvageable.”

Two 215’s [valid doctor’s recommendations for cannabis] were posted on a tree near the building. 

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department was on the scene briefly. 

LOST DOG: A dog, the pet of the renter, fled during the incident. Her owner is looking for Star now.  Star has been found!

[Photo provided by owner.]

Human Remains Eaten by Bear in Southern Humboldt

Kym Kemp / Wednesday, Oct. 15 @ 7:31 a.m. /  News

A well-known Southern Humboldt man’s death is the subject of an investigation by the Humboldt County Coroner’s Office and the Department of Fish and Wildlife. According to Deputy Coroner Roy Horton, a bear consumed almost all of the man’s remains though it is unlikely the bear actually killed him.

Horton thinks the evidence so far points to Rainbow Mountain Walker having “collapsed naturally” sometime between Wednesday and Saturday of last week at his rural home between Redway and Briceland. Horton thinks after his death Walker may have been dragged off and eaten by the creature. However, there is a slight possibility that the bear may have attacked Walker and that scenario is being examined as part of the investigation. But there have been no fatalities as the result of wild bear attacks in California since 1875 and neither the Department of Fish and Wildlife nor the Coroner’s Office consider that Walker’s death was the result of one.

Walker, who was a past Vice President of the Southern Humboldt Kiwanis, was reported missing when he didn’t show up for a planned motorcycle run on Saturday. He was last seen Wednesday, October 8. On Monday, October 13, his remains were found during a search of the rural area around his trailer. 

Horton crawled through bushes with a flashlight attempting to locate all Walker’s remains, mostly bones. He said the remains were found in a place where the bear had apparently bedded down for awhile. Bits of bear fur were found in the area. 

I think [Walker] died a natural death,” explained Horton. “Most likely scenario is he was somewhere near home between his house and where he gets his water [from a springbox.]  The bear drug him into where he has been bedding down.” There, Horton said, the bear consumed the remains.

Walker’s door was open and some of the contents of his home might have been disturbed by wild animals. However, Horton said that Walker “had a handgun where he sleeps” and there was no indication that he attempted to access it. Nor, Horton said was there “any indication that [Walker] was dragged from the trailer.”

Horton says that during Thursday’s autopsy the examiner will be looking for anything to indicate that there was a struggle, i.e. broken bones. This, he said, would indicate that a bear had attacked and Walker had tried to defend himself. 

Andrew Hughan, Public Information Officer for the Department of Fish and Wildlife, agreed with Horton that he thinks it unlikely that Walker was killed by a bear. Bears, he explained, “are very much afraid of people.” 

However, his agency is gathering information. “Our game warden collected DNA to make sure it was a bear in the trailer,” he explained. There were other animals that may have gone into the structure and his agency wants to “make 100% sure it was a bear” that entered the residence.

The clothes Walker was wearing were salvaged by the Coroner’s Office and are being tested for the bear’s DNA, too. 

Hughan explained that Wildlife Services (wildlife advocates recently tried to get Humboldt County supervisors to stop renewing their contract with this controversial federal agency) will be attempting to trap this bear. Hughan said that if they catch the bear, DNA will be taken from it and compared to that found on Walker’s clothing. “Realistic chances of finding this offending bear are pretty small,” Hughan stated.

Hughan said that if the DNA matches though, the bear will be destroyed whether or not it is believed that the bear attacked Walker while he was living or scavenged his remains after his death of natural causes.

Hughan sought to calm fears of residents who are worry about a rogue “killer” bear. He explained that at this point authorities don’t have enough information to form conclusions. “We know that a person is dead and was consumed by a bear. That is all we really know at this point.” However, he also specified that “evidence and past history indicate that there is not a bear out there hunting or killing people.” 

An account has been set up to help defray funeral expenses, bills, etc. for Rainbow Mountain Walker’s family. Donations can be made at the Community Credit Union of Southern Humboldt, account number 17455.