Monday, May 29, 2023

Woman Videotapes and Confronts Multiple Men Who Fled From a Moderate Injury Traffic Collision in Hopland


Lakeport resident Samantha Mitchell proved what it means to look out for her fellow man and confront wrongdoing this afternoon when she witnessed a vehicle collision where six men attempted to flee the scene. Mitchell, shaken but determined, got in her car, began to videotape, and on video demanded to know why these men would flee the scene of an accident.

At approximately 3:30 p.m. Mitchell told us she was driving on State Route 175 near Old Hopland on the east side of Sanel Valley when she watched two vehicles collide.

Mitchell told us she watched a van pull out of a vineyard “right into oncoming traffic.” This maneuver led to a red Cadillac colliding with the van. The vehicles did not come to rest until they struck a nearby guardrail.

Mitchell got out of her car to check on the drivers when the “doors on the van immediately opened and 6-7 people ran out of the van into a small white truck waiting down the road.”

The driver of the Cadillac “was injured and trying to get out of the car” when Mitchell watched the 6-7 men run “right past” the injured driver to what appeared to be their getaway car.

At that point, Mitchell “got back to my car and started recording.” Mitchell drove towards the white truck where the occupants of the van were loading into the bed and told them the other driver is injured.

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Mitchell’s interaction with these men was caught on video and captures her demanding to know why these men would leave the scene of an accident where someone was injured. A man nearby the vehicle, with a heavy accent and broken English, kept repeating “I dunno” and “We just stopped to see.”

When asked why she was not scared to confront these men, Mitchell jokingly told us because “I’m a Texan, and I have guts and glory.” In all seriousness, Mitchell said, “If I was the driver of the Cadillac, I’d be hoping someone got the video of the whole thing. I know the cars behind me would’ve been there to help if there was anything to be scared of.”

The California Highway Patrol Traffic Incident Information page indicates the collision occurred at 3:26 p.m. near the Sanel Valley Market on State Route 175 in Old Hopland. The collision left a tan Toyota Siena van and a Burgandy Cadillac Escalade blocking the eastbound lane of Highway 175.

Two tow trucks were dispatched to the incident to clear the roadway and the CHP Incident Information page indicates responding officers were out with a “Hispanic male adult” near the bridge on State Route 175.

We have requested more information from the California Highway Patrol Office in Ukiah and expect to have more information in the morning.

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  1. From Texas here and hell yea! Not a lot I miss about Texas but I do miss the people down there! You can disagree with someone about damn near everything and call each other a son of a bit..and still get a smile and a beer. People got heart down there!

  2. I’m from Texas and theres not a lot I miss about it..except for the people. You can disagree with someone about damn near everything and still get a smile and a beer from them. People got heart down there.

  3. 😇 Good for you Samantha! Thank you for setting a good example for the rest of us. You were so brave. Praying for everyone involved

  4. It sounds to me as if the van was hit by the Cadillac, which means it’s very likely the Cadillac’s fault. This article is flawed by what appears to be not so subtle racist mocking. Totally not appropriate for the men to try to flee, but the tone of this whole piece is problematic at best.

    • I can assure you the author of the article is far from racist. Just last week I saw him clap back at someone who left a racist comment on one of his articles and he was not happy. He’s reporting the incident with the details that were given to him. No need to protect the alleged a$$holes who thought they would flee the scene. Hopefully they are fully prosecuted!

    • “not appropriate”? Hard to tell from the video if the pickup was involved, but fleeing the scene of an accident is illegal, especially if you’re—wait for it, and cover your ears, Mendo-progressives—a possible illegal from another country. This lady has more guts than 90% of the men who live in this county.

      • I read in other comments that the driver of the van did not flee the scene. Just the passengers. Matt if this is true it should have been made clear the driver who caused the accident didn’t flee. I also read from comments passengers are not required to stay at the scene. Matt, if this is true it should have also been made clear. If these are facts, omitting them can have an intentional consequence of racist slant.

    • Maybe you misread it “watched a van pull out of a vineyard “right into oncoming traffic.” the van pulled out of the vineyard onto the road without looking to see if anyone was coming. They drove into oncoming traffic. So the Cadillac was driving on the main road and the van pulled out in front of it. So how is that the Cadillac fault? I found the article to be factual. What parts of it is racist mocking?

  5. The walked away because laws don’t apply to illegals. Just handle it like Joe Biden would a situation at the southern border. Hand out a 800$ debit card and everybody goes on their way.

  6. Side note…people are not illegal. When someone from America breaks a law and goes to jail (or not) we do not then call them “illegal”…it’s ridiculous! Anyone who uses these terms I immediately label as a racist, Just so you know. For those of you who have issues with POC or think they are all here illegally, maybe you yourself should be kicked out of this country unless you are of native descent based on that thinking. Just saying,…people are people and no human should be called such a disrespectful name. It takes the humanity out the conversation. Remember assholes come in all colors and of all descents. Whether or not these assholes are from this country or another is irrelevant in my opinion.

    • The driver was the one who stayed, the other men appear to be maybe workers from the vineyard. It’s not their fault the driver of the van pulled out into oncoming traffic.It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure the men who left may have out of fear of interactions with the police or they have work to do in another location. Foreign workers are working the fields in the winter to feed themselves and their families.If you consider that illegal then you are part of the problem!

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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
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 matthewplafever@gmail.com if you know a story that needs to be told.

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