Op-Ed

Family Member of Willits Man Who Died in Highway 20 Crash Offers Theories About What Caused the Collision

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I’m just upset that it seems like no other consideration was taken in checking other possible factors before California Highway Patrol publicly offered that information suggesting the drugs or alcohol being a suspected factor before even checking out whether or not his truck showed any signs of mechanical failure in a critical area.

I am worried it might be overlooked or might not be investigated at all unless there is some indication they should CHP investigators take a closer look at a particular mechanical issue with the truck. 

If it’s possible for them to inspect the power steering, if it’s not demolished, it will likely provide some more insight into the cause. 

Brandon contacted someone and told them he was a bit shaken due to his truck exhibiting abnormal behavior that caused his steering wheel to suddenly pull hard to the left. He had pulled over and realized that he was rapidly losing fluid from its reservoir tank. He used the rest of a bottle of power steering fluid and used it to get back on the road.

He was experienced with towing and has done it plenty. 

I know he was cautious through this particular stretch of the road because we have, in the past, experienced several scary situations involving other vehicles losing control and fishtailing almost hitting our vehicle. This is something we have discussed on multiple occasions and I know he was aware that the area between the bridge and the lane extension was hazardous due to the slick road there in the rain, more so than the majority of Highway 20

I believe that the rain and his rear tires not yet being replaced (he was planning to get new ones today), the weight of his load, and his vehicle behaving oddly due to the power steering failure were significant factors in the collision. It’s important investigators look into whether or not this is maybe what caused him to lose control and cross over the center median. He probably decided to try and just make it home. He was on his way to the Potter Valley exit. He was so close. 

Considering the experience he had described just a few hours before the accident, and the circumstances of the crash sounding an awful lot like the ones Brandon described to his friend,  I feel like it should be brought to CHP investigators attention so that they may be able to evaluate the possibility further. 

In response to the people already talking down on him and upsetting our child, I’d be glad to suggest this possible theory as to what might have taken place. 

I’m not convinced that their observations or speculation is correct until I know the extent of the evaluation being done on inspecting his truck.

-Jill Renee

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8 replies »

  1. 🙏 I am “openly” born again Christian. I didn’t know who I was praying for at the time, but now know it was your Brandon. I’m posting this for the family and anyone who cared deeply for Brandon. I was 15 minutes ahead of this accident westbound on hwy. 20 and was completely unaware of what took place 15 minutes behind me (in the physical realm) until I was home and settled in for the night. I would like to offer my condolences for your loss. But I would also like to tell you that Brandon was not alone in the moments before his passing. Spiritually speaking. And I may never know the conversation he had with our Creator, but I know he had one. I hope to bring you comfort in your time of great sorrow. I struggled with whether or not to post this. And someday when/if you ask the hardest question of all… where will Brandon spend his eternity…please know that a total stranger on the highway was pleading with The Almighty for Brandon’s eternal salvation. May God give you peace in your heart that surpasses all your human understanding, in Jesus name. Amen.

    • Thank you so much for your beautiful words this helped me a lot to read. I cannot tell you how much that means and I will share what you Said here with my daughter. She is really struggling with this loss and her dad was so important to her. His whole family is very hurt and he had many people who loved him dearly. Now that this has happened I realize there’s a lot more people (than the already tons of people) who are reaching out to extend their sadness and memories. Thank you again for this .
      Whoever you are , sounds like we know each other. If we do I would love to be able to know who wrote this because it touched my heart.

      • I’m a stranger. But I’m weeping with you and praying for you and the family. Please, if you can, find a Bible church and ask the Pastor for prayer and guidance. You can find so much love and support there. God loves you so all so much.

        Willits (?) Christian community; Please gather around this family and show them some Jesus

  2. RIP Brandon…and may anyone who wants to speak ill words. Just know your loved ones would not want to see that or read… regarding your tragic sudden death.. EVEN if drugs or alcohol was a factor and it seems this is not the case for him, it is still a loved one lost and shame on anyone who wants to throw stones at an addict, cause im sure you know of or are related to one, we are all human and deserve to be treated as such. May your family be surrounded with uplifting love and healing in this dark hour.

  3. Thank you Tonya and local. I know what you Said here is one thing people are quick to forget. I appreciate you for pointing that all out for all to remember. It’s relieving to see that even 3 people were able to respond to this openly without judgment and thoughtful words filled with sincerity.
    Thank you so much for that ❤- on behalf of my child, his other child k.h and his entire family all of those who knew and loved him and myself in gratitude for being taken seriously on the possibility this was not a cause abd this possibly being just a horrible result of something that was not preventable. It means a lot.

  4. Sorry for your loss Jill. May Brandan rest in peace and you and your family find peace during this difficult time.

  5. RIP Brandon, and my condolences to his family. Even though we just meet about a month ago you have always had the biggest heart and would do anything for anyone. We meet Brandon threw our grandson who was a big part of Brandon’s life. I can say Brandon was a good guy to grandson. And I also know he love his daughter with all his heat and soul.. he talked about her all the time..and in her time of need she put herself and feelings aside and reached out to my grandson thank you so much..
    RIP BRANDON 😞

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