Two people were killed, including a Eureka man, and several other members of a local family were injured in a fiery collision just after midnight on U.S. Highway 101 north of Willits. But a Good Samaritan pulled five injured passengers from the wreckage just before both vehicles burst into flames.
Three Eureka residents — identified as 43-year-old Rosa Delgado, 24-year-old Gilberto Delgado and 19-year-old Anajelica Delgado — suffered major injuries. Two children, a 1-year-old Eureka girl and a 7-year-old boy from Fortuna, received minor injuries in the head-on crash that killed both drivers, who were trapped inside as the vehicles became engulfed in flames.
A motorist who came upon the crash scene was able to get all of the passengers out of the 2008 Dodge Ram pickup that was hit when the driver of a 1994 Ford Bronco crossed over into its path, according to a California Highway Patrol release.
Neither driver has been identified. The CHP is investigating the fatal incident and reports that impaired driving may have been a factor in the crash.
Read the full release from the CHP below:
On 05-26-17, at approximately 12:30 A.M., a 1994 Ford Bronco was driving north on US-101, north of Reynolds Highway in Mendocino County. For unknown reasons, the Ford made a turning movement to the left and crossed over the double yellow lines, proceeding into the southbound traffic lane. At the same time, a 2008 Dodge Ram pickup was driving south on US-101, north of Reynolds Highway in Mendocino County. The Ford crossed into the opposing traffic lane right in front of the Dodge and the two vehicles collided head on. Both vehicles came to rest within the southbound and northbound traffic lanes and caught fire. The Dodge had five passengers inside, not including the driver. The drivers became trapped within the driver seats of their respective vehicles as a result of the collision.
Immediately after the collision, a Good Samaritan came upon the scene and got out of his vehicle in order to see if everyone was okay. He quickly realized that the fire was spreading and began to extricate everyone that he could from the Dodge. Due to his quick thinking and expediency, all five passengers from the Dodge were safely rescued from the vehicle. Unfortunately, the driver (identity being withheld pending family notification) was trapped in the driver seat as the Dodge became fully engulfed and suffered fatal injuries. The driver of the Ford (identity being withheld pending family notification) was also trapped and was not extricated before his vehicle became engulfed as well, and he suffered fatal injuries.
All injured parties were transported by ambulances from Ukiah, Willits and Laytonville to area hospitals. Personnel from Little Lake Fire Department, Mendocino County Sheriff's Office, Willits Police Department, Verihealth, Laytonville Fire Department and Ukiah CHP assisted with the control of, and the investigation of, the collision scene. This collision remains under investigation by the Garberville CHP.
At this time, the cause of this collision is under investigation and it appears impaired driving may have been a factor as well.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the number of passengers.