MENDOCINO Co., 9/28/21 — Two Mendocino County drivers died Monday in separate crashes on Highway 1 and Highway 20, according to the California Highway Patrol, including a head-on collision in which investigators believe drugs and alcohol may have been a factor.
Around 3:50 p.m. a 39-year-old Ukiah man drove a 1982 Dodge truck off a steep hill in the vicinity of Highway 1 and Frog Pond Road. Investigators believe the northbound driver took a sharp turn at high speed, rolling the truck several times before it came to rest 200 feet down the hillside, fully engulfed in flames. He was reportedly not wearing a seatbelt. The cause of the crash remains under investigation, and investigators said in a statement today that it is “not yet known” whether drugs or alcohol were a factor. No other injuries were reported.
Roughly 20 minutes later, a 38-year-old Willits man driving east on Highway 20 near Marina Drive in a Dodge truck towing a flatbed with another Dodge truck on it lost control of his vehicle for unknown reasons, drifted across the double-yellow line and crashed head-on into a westbound box truck. The Dodge driver was not wearing his seatbelt and died of his injuries, but the driver of the box truck was wearing his seatbelt and suffered only minor injuries. That driver, identified as a 26-year-old Ukiah man, was transported to Howard Memorial Hospital as a precautionary measure. Investigators allege that drugs or alcohol are “considered a possible factor as a cause for this collision.”
The names of both decedents are currently being withheld, pending notification of their families, according to the CHP.