2nd UPDATE: Suspect Surrenders in Fatal Hit and Run


At about 6:30 p.m. today, 33-year-old Benjamin Shermis, of Arcata, came into the California Highway Patrol's Arcata office and admitted he was the river in last night's fatal hit-and-run collision on U.S. Highway 101, according to the CHP.

The CHP reports that Shermis was subsequently arrested for felony hit and run and booked into the county jail. His vehicle — a 2001 Ford van — was located where he told investigators it would be, according to the CHP.

The Humboldt County Coroner’s Office has identified the victim of last night’s hit-and-run collision near McKinleyville as 34-year-old Richard Brandon Freeman, of Hoopa.

Freeman was found shortly before 9 p.m. lying in the center divide of U.S. Highway 101 near the North Bank Road off-ramp and was pronounced dead at the scene. The California Highway Patrol has also announced that it is now searching for a Ford Econoline Van from between 1992 and 2000, or a vehicle with “similar van cab and chassis.” The suspect vehicle is believed be white in color with damage to its driver-side headlight and turn signal.

CHP asks anyone with information about the case, including Freeman’s activities leading up to the collision, to call its Humboldt office at 822-5981 or 268-2000.

See the full press release copied below our original post.

The California Highway Patrol is investigating a hit-and-run crash that left a pedestrian dead in the median on U.S. Highway 101 near North Bank Road last night.

CHP reports it was dispatched to a call of a pedestrian lying in the center divide of U.S. Highway 101 just north of Arcata shortly before 9 p.m. yesterday. Officers arrived to find an unresponsive male and immediately began CPR, but the pedestrian was pronounced dead at the scene after medical personnel arrived.

According to CHP, it appears the pedestrian was in the northbound roadway when struck by an unknown vehicle, which fled the scene. Officials are still working to identify the pedestrian and notify his family of his death. Northbound traffic was diverted onto Central Avenue while investigators worked the scene.

The incident marks Humboldt County's ninth vehicle-related fatality of 2018.
CHP asks anyone with information about the collision to call its Humboldt office at 822-5981 or 268-2000.

Read CHP's full collision report here.

CHP's update:


HUMBOLDT COUNTY, Calif. – On April 26, 2018, just before 9PM, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) responded to northbound US-101 at State Route 200 for a report of a pedestrian laying in the center divider. Upon CHP arrival, a pedestrian with major injuries was located in the median. CHP and emergency medical personnel provided medical aid. However, the pedestrian succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene. Injuries to the deceased, as well as debris located at the scene, are consistent with a vehicle having been involved in this collision.

Through follow-up investigation, a possible suspect vehicle has been identified as a 1992-2000 Ford Econoline Van or similar van cab and chassis. The suspect vehicle is believed to be white in color and may have damage to the driver side headlight and turn signal.

The Humboldt County Coroner’s Office has notified the next of kin and the pedestrian has been identified as 34 year old Richard Brandon Freeman of Hoopa.

The CHP is actively seeking anyone with information on the vehicle and driver involved in this collision, as well as information related to Mr. Freeman’s activities leading up to the collision. Anyone having information is encouraged to contact the Humboldt Area CHP office at 707-822-5981 or 707-268-2000.

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