Sunday, September 25, 2022
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49-Year-Old Ukiah Woman Dies From Three Car Collision on State Route 20— Roadway Slick with Recent Rain

[This is a stock image taken by Matt LaFever, not an image of the incident]

According to witness statements, statements from the involved parties, and dash cam footage the following is believed to have occurred: Rafael Esquivel (Party 1) was driving a blue 2003 Mini Cooper eastbound on SR-20 just east of Potter Valley Road. Michael Schmuckley (Party 2) was driving a blue 2018 Toyota Tacoma westbound on SR-20 east of Potter Valley Road, Kurt Jensen (Party 3) was driving a black 2019 Ford Explorer westbound on SR-20 east of Potter Valley Road directly behind Party 2. At the time of the collision, the weather was raining and the roadway was wet. Party 1 drove through standing water causing the Mini Cooper to lose traction with the roadway. The Mini Cooper began to spin and into the westbound lane, The front of the Mini Cooper collided with the driver’s side of the Toyota Tacoma causing the Toyota to lose control and spin. The Mini Cooper continued to spin out of control into the westbound lane and the right rear collided with the front of the Ford Explorer. 

Passing motorists stopped to assist and helped extricate the occupants of the Mini Cooper. One of the occupants (name withheld pending notification of kin) was unresponsive and ultimately succumbed to her injuries at the scene. Alcohol and/or drugs are not believed to be a contributing factor in this collision. 

This collision is still under investigation. Any person with information pertaining to this incident is asked to contact the Ukiah CHP office at 707-467-4420. 


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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFever
I like to think of myself as a journalist for the everyman. Journalism has become a craft practiced by the urban elite. 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 told.

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