Wrong-Way Driver Killed On 101 – January 4, 2012

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The accident scene. Photo courtesy Mark Sailors | Arcata Kineticab

California Highway Patrol Press Release

For Immediate Release.

 On Wednesday, January 4, 2012, at approximately 0724 hours, 54-year-old Kathleen Jennings of Arcata, was driving a 1987 Honda Civic, at an unknown speed, southbound, the wrong way, in the northbound #1 lane of US 101, just north of Bayside Cutoff.  Twenty-five-year-old Joshua Larson of Eureka, was driving his 1999 Pontiac Grand Am northbound in the northbound #1 lane, just south of Jennings’ location.

The crash diverted northbound commute traffic onto Old Arcata Road during Jacoby Creek School's monthly Walk & Roll Wednesday people-powered transportation event. KLH | Eye

After observing Jennings in their lane, traffic directly ahead of Larson moved to the right lane.  Larson was unable to avoid the head-on collision.  Both vehicles collided within the #1 lane.

Larson’s vehicle came to rest blocking both northbound lanes, with Larson trapped inside.  Larson received non-life threatening injuries.
After being extricated from his vehicle, Larson was transported to St. Joseph Hospital.  Jennings received fatal injuries and also had to be extricated from the vehicle.  US 101 northbound was closed and traffic was detoured onto Bayside Cutoff to Old Arcata Road.  The roadway was re-opened at approximately 0920 hours.
Emergency personnel from Cal Fire, Arcata Fire District Firefighters, Arcata Police Department, Arcata-Mad River Ambulance and the Humboldt County Coroner responded to the scene of this collision.

These innocent passersby at Jacoby Creek School appeared unscathed by the dense traffic. KLH | Eye

Prior to the collision, at approximately 0712 hours, CHP dispatch received a 9-1-1 call regarding Jennings’ vehicle traveling northbound US 101, just north of Mid-City Motors.  The caller reported that Jennings was weaving in both lanes at 35 mph.  While CHP units were responding to this location, CHP dispatch received several more calls reporting that the Honda was now traveling southbound, in the northbound lanes of US 101, just south of Samoa Blvd.

Both drivers were wearing their seatbelts at the time of the collision.  Evidence found in Jennings’ vehicle indicates alcohol may have been a factor in this collision.  This collision is still under investigation.
Officer Paul Dahlen
Public Information and Recruitment Officer
Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician