CHP Releases Names in Fiery Crash on Hwy 101 on January 21
James Baker, 55, of Arcata, California, was identified as the driver who was traveling in the wrong direction on the highway. Baker was driving north in the southbound lanes of US 101 when his vehicle collided with the car driven by Christina Freitas, a Rio Dell resident, who was accompanied by her 9-year-old daughter, Neveah. All three individuals were pronounced dead at the scene.
The CHP provided a detailed account of the incident, noting that the Humboldt Communications Center received reports of a Toyota truck driving the wrong way on US 101 at around 10:37 p.m. on January 21, 2024. Shortly thereafter, at approximately 10:43 p.m., a head-on crash was reported in the southbound lanes of US 101 at Metropolitan Road. Both vehicles involved, a 2015 Toyota Tacoma and a 2010 Mercedes Benz C300, became fully engulfed in flames following the collision.
Upon arrival, emergency responders found the vehicles blocking the lanes and quickly determined that all occupants, including Baker, Freitas, and her daughter, had succumbed to their injuries.
The CHP are attempting to determine how and why Baker ended up driving the wrong way. The CHP has made a public appeal for information that could assist in the investigation, urging anyone with knowledge of the incident to contact them at (707) 822-5981.
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