One Dead in Crash Near Crescent City

chp tc report

Yesterday, about 2:30 p.m., a Saturn sedan crossed into the opposite lane of traffic on Hwy 101 south of the Mill Creek Campground and collided with a Winnebago motorhome. The male passenger in the sedan was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The CHP also released the following information,

The two occupants of the motorhome were transported to Sutter Coast Hospital and treated for minor injuries. Three occupants of the Saturn were transported to Sutter Coast Hospital and treated for their injuries.

According to Jeremy Stafford, he was the third person to arrive on the scene and was there within a minute of the accident. “The amount of rain…was brutal and made it very dangerous,” he explained.

It was obvious that the occupants of the sedan were badly injured, he said. One of the occupants of the motorhome had some first aid training and stepped in to help, he wrote. He said that efforts were made to resuscitate the male front passenger who had no pulse but it was unsuccessful.

“The driver lady in her 40s or 50s or 60s, had a broken leg,” Stafford wrote. “Back driver side was a male kid under 10 years old with a bad laceration to [his] head, we applied a towel and any medical [gauze] we had to help slow the bleeding.”

But the image Stafford said he couldn’t get out of his head was that of the young woman in the rear passenger side. “[S]he was conscious…had a pulse but was in critical condition when we arrived…[W]e immediately administered cpr when she lost consciousness, finally when emergency crews arrived on scene, we were able to cut the car open and remove her.”

He stated that the emergency medical personnel hooked a machine up to her and continued CPR as they drove away. “She left the scene unconscious,” he wrote.

“I can’t get the image of it all out of my head,” Stafford explained. “Before she lost consciousness the look of distress and helplessness in her eyes makes me pray she made it.”

Hwy 101 was closed for about an hour and then one way traffic control was set up until the roadway could be re-opened. The CHP says, “The cause of the collision is under investigation.”

“The whole accident was so unfortunate and the roads were insanely slippery,” Stafford said.

Earlier Chapter: 101 Closed South of Crescent City After Accident



  • But you were there and you did the best you could,bravo to. And prayers and condolences to all involved.

  • I believe Paul is or was a race car driver in the past. A great guy and would bet all my marbles that he did everything in his power to administer first aid to the victims. Such a tragedy and heartache for all involved.

  • As a family friend of the deceased I am very disappointed in your article and you could have left out the details! You broke my heart over again!!

    • I am so sorry that this hurt you. It is hard to choose perfectly to fit the needs of all those who read these articles. Another family friend just told me that I had done a beautiful job of wording it. I do my best but obviously, I didn’t succeed and left you in more pain. I am sorry.

      • You do great! Each story you do is a lesson to the readers to learn from.

      • These apologies have felt insincere for a while now because you clearly want the attention so live with the pain you cause.

        • I could stop writing stories and then I would stop causing pain but then again, I like to think I help, too. The other friend who contacted me seemed to think my words were helpful. It’s hard to fit everyone’s needs. I do my best not to hurt but to still be real. For some, I am too real.

          If you think I am too real, the best way to show that is not to read what I write.

          • Just stop saying you are sorry when you are clearly not. People who are sorry do not keep doing what they say they are sorry about doing. That is just lying.

            • Don't Kill the Messenger

              Dude, chill out. She provides this service for free for those of us who want local news. It’s a thankless job and she does it very well. You don’t need to act like that. If she didn’t write the article, LoCo would have, or there would be a press release from CHP, so lighten up on Kym. She is doing a great service to this county. Sorry for your loss, but please don’t take this out on the reporter who just brings the news to us.

            • Been lectured by Kym on empathy

              That is not true about Kym lying. She is sorry for other’s pain but that does not mean that your accusation that she caused the pain is right. This is not only a story about a car accident but also about those who stopped to help. If a person can be traumatized by reading, think of the trauma of being there to aid and comfort the injured when there is no rule they must do so. That is uplifting to read.

              I stopped at one such accident once and lived with those sights for years. There was no story on it. I scoured the media for months, trying to find out more but was never able to get any information. It kept the memories alive for me for a log longer than it needed to be.

            • Being sorry that I cause pain doesn’t mean that I don’t think that what I do is worth doing. I wish that I never hurt anyone but the reality is that telling the truth is rarely about rainbows and fairydust.

              Someone’s mother is hurt when her son goes to jail.

              Someone’s child is devastated at the photo of an accident scene. Someone’s wife feels crushed when allegations of wrongdoing are posted.

              I recognize the pain that my stories can cause. I just think that telling the truth of what occurs helps the community as a whole to make judgements about what to do and not to do.

              But that doesn’t mean I don’t lay awake sometimes because I wish that I didn’t cause someone pain. I do.

              • Kym, I don’t always agree with your slant on stories, but I do believe that you and all news sources provide a service. As you can probably figure out, I do watch Fox (and source info from Haaretz, BBC, CSM, etc). What some don’t understand, is that news is necessary, even bad news, to provide a rounded idea of what is happening in the world. News is the light in the darkness. Granted, one must read multiple sources to even hope to get the whole story, as most media have their own biases and apply it liberally. (See what I did there?).

                Having empathy for the family members of those in your articles does not equal sympathy, nor should it. Feeling bad for involved parties is not remotely a reason to not provide the info to those whom would/could learn from it.

                Prior to becoming a regular reader of yours, I didn’t realize the sheer number of accidents and fatal accidents on US 101. That is ever present in my mind while traveling to SF.

                Please, don’t kill the messenger. I’ve been the family member of someone who died much too young in a tragic river accident. I didn’t like the reminder of how she died, but now, years later, I still have the articles because anything that brings back memories of her is good. Luckily, her incident was not on the internet and subject to mindless trolling or idiotic comments. That’s what hurts the most, I think.

                Just my two bits worth….

              • Kym, I am grateful for the delicate way you word things. I have young drivers in my family and they read your blog. We are ALWAYS learning from other’s mistakes, other’s heroic actions and it gives us time to talk about things. I never did understand the ‘need’ for the involved family members to read and reread these stories and then get upset that it was reported. You are doing the community a great service and I stand in a long line of people WHO DO APPRECIATE EVERY WORD YOU PUT OUT! No yelling, just emphasizing! You do good! Thank you!!

                • I agree with you. And I, too, appreciate every bit of Kym’s work. And I, also, learn as much as I can from Kym’s reporting, and the comments that follow, especially when it comes to road safety. I only got my license a couple of years ago, and there’s always more to learn. From this article, I learned that I need to keep a first-aid kit in my car, and maybe a blanket, and I need to take a first-aid class. What if it was me who happened upon such an incident? I would want to help, too.

                  Hey, does anyone know how to find a first-aid class around here?

                  Finally, to whoever is harassing Kym, please stop. She is a journalist, providing an important service for this community. We’re all affected by these tragedies, if not directly. And we need to be able to talk about and try to understand the things that affect us, as a community. My prayers to everyone involved, and my thanks to the good samaritans who did their best to help. And my thanks to Kym, for keeping the rest of us informed. The more we know, the better we can look out for each other.

                • @ Guest (sorry, you have no reply button?) CPR classes > contact your city fire department. Parks & Rec (EUK/Arc) usually has a class sometime during the year. HSU Activities offers CPR. NorCal Safety Consort and the good ol’ Red Cross. There could be others like for baby sitters or first responders but just start searching, you’ll find one!

              • Discussed and Heartbroken

                Being a good writer is knowing what to describe and what to leave out. I personally have known this beautiful young lady for many years. Her mother is still in the hospital grieving over what just happened trying to wrap her brain around this. Be a bit more sensitive to the family and others reading your article. I found out this morning and was in shock but after reading your article I keep seeing horrible images of our sweet girl suffering. I’ve never seen a journalist with any type of empathy describe the scene like you did. Comparing this article to rainbow and pixie dust is highly insensitive!

                • A family member was missing for three weeks. And although, he was reported missing to multiple law enforcement agencies, in our county and nearby counties, when he was found, none of them even had him on their list of potential people. Because of Kym reporting the actual details, real details, we were able to contact the sheriff, of that county, and finally know what happened. Maybe this tragedy is different, but again she can’t always know who it helps and who it doesn’t. Thank you Kym! Not knowing was the worst. You are never insensitive. I have spoken with you and given multiple details, about our relative and you never printed one word, of private information to get “more readers” or to sensationalize. You are a wonderful person and I think truly a caring member of our communities. Don’t let the haters get you down or make you change. Thank you.

                • Thank you. I am so glad that you got some answers.

              • Kym, I think it’s this particular part that hurts them ; “look of distress and helplessness in her eyes “. It’s subjective and personal. I can see both sides to this. I would hate to read that part concerning a loved one. I do appreciate the article and other articles like this in general though. I think you’ve done a very good job on them overall.

                Sleep well tonight. When people grieve they can sometimes get angry much more easily at people who do not mean them any harm.

                For those criticizing Kym, you should realize it is not easy reporting on accidents. It is very common for reporters to lose sleep, have nightmares and cry over these events, even when events concern people they don’t know at all. Think about if you had to do that every day. Reporters go through some of the same stresses that firemen, ambulance workers and police do. We can all be a little kinder. Being kind doesn’t hurt.

          • Thank you Kym for reporting what you can ,in as respectable a way as you can while still informing the public of what happens (mostly in public)

    • You already knew what happened but chose to read the story anyway. Kym doesn’t bear the responsibility for your second round of pain, you do.

  • Those who stopped to help performed the highest kind of humanity, regardless of the outcome.

  • Terrible accident, it can get so slippery there, rain, ice can cause a car to skid very suddenly, treacherous weather, thanks for trying to save her.

    Much thanks to the 1st responders’ for their wonderful service.

    Condolences to all.

  • Sounded like an unavoidable accident.

    To increase survival when your car begins to skid generally: get your foot off the accelerator and the brake. Steer gently in the direction you want the car to go. As you begin to regain control of the car, gently apply the brakes (assuming you have anti-lock brakes) or the accelerator depending on the type of skid.

    The slippery road can come out of nowhere, sounded like an unavoidable accident.


    • The only time I ever totalled a car was because of wet asphalt and redwood duff. Fortunately my mistake affected only myself and the clay bank I pummeled. I know this stretch of road well and it’s a mess this time of year. Even when driving below the speed limit, miscalculating a turn too sharp or wide can put one wheel into the duff, causing a chain reaction of over corrections.

      • I think that is the problem a lot of drivers have, still driving at or above the speed limit in less than ideal conditions. Dark, wet, slippery, you must slow your speed.

    • “To increase survival when your car begins to skid generally: get your foot off the accelerator and the brake. Steer gently in the direction you want the car to go. As you begin to regain control of the car, gently apply the brakes or the accelerator…” Beware of the duff. Avoid over correcting. Slow down.

      A, Godless, and hmmm: thank you for sharing what you know with the rest of us. I, for one, take notes.

  • Thank you Kim for this beautifully written article. My heart goes out to all that were invoked and all the families. It is also a good reminder ( for me) to slow down on these wet days.

  • One chooses what one reads. Stop reading. Nobody makes anybody feel bad. It’s self inflicted. Stop blaming others.

  • Kym, I began reading your site regularly during the search and rescue efforts for the family who went into the eel river last year. They all perished, sadly and tragically. But you provided a much needed place for their friends and loved ones to come and ask for help, and to be guided to the right resources.

    You try to cover so many stories, whether they’re about car crashes, shootings, pot raids, or beautiful happy stories (like the deputy who could see color for the first time in his life) and what you do is such an important service for this area. I only wish we had such a dedicated resource in Mendo. We have so many car crashes in the willits area, especially on roads like Sherwood, in the Brooktrails “neighborhood” that we never can find any article about, because our news services are understaffed and don’t seem to think traffic accidents are necessarily worthy of reporting. Maybe the big wrecks on 101 in our area might get some attention, but when it’s rainy, there are sometimes multiple bad wrecks on Sherwood per day that never get a single peep.

    When our supervisors allowed the speed limit on Sherwood to go from a reasonable 35 MPh to 45 MPH , the accidents increased dramatically, and many of them have been fatal. Having a dedicated news source where one can find and site the accidents, in order to get our powers that be to reduce the speed to a reasonable, safe limit would be an invaluable service. Trying to navigate CHP incident pages is not an easy task.

    What you’re doing here is a very necessary and very valuable effort to keep everyone aware. There will be many tragedies you report on, and some may object to that, but please keep doing this with your kind heart and clear mind.

    Thank you.

  • Went to Eureka today. I can not believe how slippery the road was this late in the season. I drove way under the speed limit with good rain tires and it still felt like driving a boat . I don’t know about anyone else, but at this time of year I expect most of the oils to be washed off the road.

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