Friday, March 31, 2023

Six Vehicles Struck and One Injured After Driver Flees Law Enforcement in Willits Safeway Parking Lot

First responders on scene on the series of traffic collisions [All pictures provided by a Mendocino County resident who saw the incident]

First responders are on the scene of a series of six traffic collisions and a moderate injury that resulted from a driver fleeing law enforcement in the Willits Safeway parking lot near the intersection of South Main Street and Franklin Avenue.

Scanner traffic confirms that the Incident Commander has located six vehicles damaged and also reported one moderate injury has resulted from the incident. The dispatcher requested California Highway Patrol Officers arrive on scene.

A reader contacted us around 3:12 p.m. and described a chaotic scene as the driver fled law enforcement through the Safeway parking lot striking several vehicles. The reader told us that once the vehicle left the Safeway parking lot the vehicle collided with traffic in front of the business called Earthlab.

Traffic is backed up on Willits’s Main Street as a result of the incident [Screenshot from the Caltrans Quickmap]

The Caltrans Quickmap shows Willits’s Main Street congested as a result of the incident.

One of the vehicles struck by the driver

UPDATE 3:36 p.m.: The suspect is officially in custody and law enforcement is on scene taking measurements and assessing the damage.

Another bystander spoke with us and described being in traffic on South Main Street when the suspect vehicle drove into opposing traffic and “hit the car beside me.” They told us he left the scene “before they pulled out the driver” out of the concern “it turned into a shooting.” He took a photograph of the scene:

The suspect vehicle smoking in the middle of Main Street moments after the collision that ended the pursuit. [Picture provided a bystander who watched the scene unfold]

Please remember that this story is unfolding. Information is being reported as we gather it. However, some of the information coming from witnesses and initial official reports could be wrong. We will do our best to get the facts but, in the case that something is inaccurate, we will update with correct information as soon as we can.



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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFever
I like to think of myself as a reporter for the Average Joe. Journalism has become a craft defined largely by city dwellers on America's coasts. It’s time to take it back. I have been an Emerald Triangle resident since 2006 and this is year ten in Mendocino County. Please, email me at if you know a story that needs to be told.

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