Fatal Accident on Mattole Road Yesterday

Kym Kemp / Tuesday, Nov. 11 @ 4:57 p.m. /  News

Just before 5 p.m. yesterday, CHP dispatch reported a head on traffic collision on Mattole Road. LoCO has learned that the accident resulted in a fatality.

Roughly the area where the accident occurred. [From GPS coordinates provided by the CHP.]

Michael Wayne Kuhnel, age 64, a resident of Honeydew died as a result of the incident. Kuhnel has been a resident of the area for about 10 years and, according to a source close to the family, Kuhnel “will be greatly missed by his family and friends.”

Our heart goes out to those affected by such a tragic loss.

CHP Captures Man Wanted on Felony Warrant

Kym Kemp / Monday, Nov. 10 @ 1:15 p.m. /  Crime

CHP officers search a vehicle yesterday after discovering the driver was wanted on a felony warrant. [Photo by Shanda Centeno.]

Sunday afternoon, a California Highway Patrol officer stopped a white GMC pickup on Redwood Drive near West Coast Road in Redway for a traffic violation.

After the vehicle was searched thoroughly, the driver, Philip W. Hodge, age 27 of Loomis, California was arrested and booked into the Humboldt County jail for multiple warrants—at least one a felony. He is currently being held for extradition.

See earlier arrest here.

Samoa Drag Strip Damaged by Thieves, Estimated Cost of Repair Will Decimate the Non-Profit’s Reserve Funds

Kym Kemp / Monday, Nov. 10 @ 12:36 p.m. /  Crime

Pipes dangle at the Samoa Drag Strip after wires were removed by thieves. [Photos by Kathy Wright]

UPDATE 11/11: According to Danny Wright who says the organization has been contacted by people as far away as Texas, 

…we have received a tremendous amount of support from the community and we wish to show our appreciation. [W]e are in awe of this unbelievable response from our friends and neighbors.  We are planning  a fan appreciation day to be announced at a later date when our schedule is set to help in showing our appreciation.  We wish to encourage the community to support us all season by coming out and being a part of our Drag Race Family and participation either as a racer, volunteer or fan.

A GoFundMe account for the drag strip has been started. 1/5 of the needed money has already come in. Can you help finish reaching the goal?


Drag racers and their fans were dismayed to learn that thieves had removed wiring from conduits around the Samoa Drag Strip. Danny Wright and his wife discovered the situation on Saturday.

That was our electric wire that went all the way to the end of the track to run our computer equipment, timing equipment and score boards,” Wright explained. The wire conduits stretch over a quarter mile. “We were out there yesterday getting an estimate,” he said. He believes the amount to replace the wire, conduit and piping plus labor will wipe out the $5000 seed money they had put by for next year.

That is our startup money,” Wright worried. “It is either buy insurance for the track or replace the wire.”

We’re a non-profit so everyone is volunteers other than the ambulance,” Wright said. “It is something we just couldn’t afford to have happen… . Something like this is devastating.”

Wright said that the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department will be contacting scrap yards to see if anybody has tried to sell a roll of electrical wire. “What little money [the thieves] are going to get turning that in for scrap doesn’t begin to cover the damage it does us,” he fumed.

This is the community’s track,” he explained. “It is there to keep the streets safe. The operating costs are astronomical. If we can’t keep the track open, there could be accidents… .  [We have a program that] allows all the kids to race for free. We have hundreds of street cars come in… . Since the inception of our drag racing program there hasn’t been a death associated with two cars street racing during times of the year when the track is open.” 

Wright though believes that with community support the track will continue to operate. He believes that community members and businesses will assist the non-profit in getting the wire replaced while still being able to pay for their insurance. Over the years, he said, “Community has been so supportive. I can’t say enough.”

Wright said that when he learned that one of the girls who raced last year was crying because she feared that the Samoa Drag Strip would not open again next season, he was quick to reassure her that the community will come through.

Anyone wanting to donate money or other assistance can contact Wright at 707 845 5755 or P.O Box 1211, Eureka, CA 95502.


Yesterday’s Fatal Accident Victim on 101 Identified

Kym Kemp / Monday, Nov. 10 @ 11:49 a.m. /  News

California Highway Patrol press release:

On the night of Sunday, November 9th, an elderly woman sustained fatal injuries after her vehicle drove off US-101 in northern Humboldt County. 

At 7:20 p.m., 71 year old Joyce Ann Kaczor of Morgan Hill, California was driving her 1994 Mercury Cougar southbound on US-101, north of the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway when her vehicle drove off the west roadway edge and down an embankment.  The vehicle overturned multiple times and ultimately came to rest on its roof.  Kaczor sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene.  Kaczor was wearing her seatbelt at the time of the collision.  The California Highway Patrol (CHP) Humboldt Area is investigating this traffic collision with the assistance of the Humboldt County Coroner’s Office.

Husband Dies After Being Shot, Trinity County Woman Arrested

Kym Kemp / Monday, Nov. 10 @ 11:40 a.m. /  Crime

Trinity County Sheriff’s Office press release:

On November 7, 2014 at approximately 8:30 pm the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center received a call from Elizabeth Stone stating that there was a 62 year old male subject at a residence on Mad River Road in Mad River who was not breathing and requested medical for the male subject. When medical arrived on scene at the residence they advised the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office Dispatcher that the subject whom needed medical attention, later identified as Allen Stone, DOB: 03-24-1952, had a gunshot wound.

Trinity County Sheriff’s Office Deputies were dispatched to the residence in Mad River. When Deputies arrived on scene medical personnel were providing care to Mr. Stone. A firearm was located at the scene and was taken into possession by Deputies. Elizabeth Stone was detained and questioned at the scene. After being questioned she was arrested and transported to the Trinity County Jail where she was booked for 187(a) PC – Murder.

No further details will be released at this time due to the pending investigation.

Persons Arrested:

Elizabeth Charlton Stone, DOB: 12-04-1953, Mad River, CA


187(a) PC - Murder

Previously: Man Dies of Gunshot Wound on Mad River Road

Two Serious Accidents Today, One Fatal

Kym Kemp / Sunday, Nov. 9 @ 9:14 p.m. /  News

Two serious accidents occurred today. One accident was fatal. One had major injuries. Details on both are limited. We are working to obtain more information.

The fatal accident was reported around 7:30 p.m. on 101 near Boyes Creek in Northern Humboldt. A vehicle was discovered about 30 feet over the edge and soon after the Humboldt County Coroner’s Office was called. CHP is now listing this incident as a fatality. To see more of the CHP dispatch report, go here.

The major injury accident was reported around 3:50 this afternoon. It occurred in a rural area north of Willow Creek. The CHP dispatch reported that the driver received major injuries while a passenger received minor injuries. The male driver was flown to Mercy Hospital in Redding. To see more of the CHP dispatch report, go here.

CHP has promised more information when the sergeant in charge of both incidents returns from covering the fatal incident. 

South Fork Cubs Beat Ferndale Wildcats to Make Playoffs

Kym Kemp / Sunday, Nov. 9 @ 6:01 p.m. /  Sports

Three Cubs, Danny Savioe, Cole Moody and Troy Langely, after the game Friday. [Photographer Ella Scott]

After the South Fork Cubs win Saturday over the Ferndale Wildcats, Southern Humboldt was ecstatic. “It’s been 9 years since we beat Ferndale,” said Assistant Coach Karl Terrell of the South Fork Cubs. He explained that part of the jubilation came from breaking a losing streak against the other team and part came from the fact that the Cubs will now get to play in the Division Five North Coast Section playoffs. 

Today, it was announced that South Fork will play St. Helena (the third seeded team in the NCS.) The game will be played at St. Helena’s field on Friday, November 14 at 7 p.m. Ferndale wasn’t bumped out of the playoffs by South Fork’s win and will be playing St. Bernards on their home turf, Saturday, November 15 at 1 p.m.

Terrell was excited by the win. He explained, “I haven’t been in the playoffs since 08.” He credits this year’s success to having 12 seniors—half of whom have been playing varsity for four years. “I think the seniors led the way—their knowledge and experience was important. They play with a lot of heart.”

In addition, Terrell said that three junior varsity players were brought up into varsity for last night’s game. Terrell said that these players, Sean Sweeny, Ipo Savoie, Scott Coffelt, were very helpful. “We felt they could help us and they contributed well.”

Terrell said that last night’s game was a nail biter. At one point, “we fumbled the ball on the 1 yard line,” he explained. “The game went back and forth…With one minute left on the clock and Scotty Coffelt made a play and we were able to run the clock out.” 

Terrell said it has been a tough season. “We’ve had our ups and downs and injuries. But for the last couple weeks, the players started to believe they were a good football team. [However,] we lost two kids to grades this week.”

In spite of that, Terrell believes the entire team worked well last night. “Props to the whole team and the coaching staff,” Terrell said.  He credited Head Coach Andy Olsen who graduated high school at South Fork in 1999. Olsen, he said, is young and very energetic.

Terrell says the team plans to add some more players from the junior varsity team for next week’s game. He says the coaching staff and the players are excited to face St. Helena. “It is always a goal every year to make the playoffs,” he said. “We’ll give South Fork a good showing. Something for Southern Humboldt to be proud about.” 

Current Roster:

Cheerleaders and team players gather for a jubilant group photo. [Photo provided by Ella Scott.]