Monday, December 5, 2022

[UPDATE: Roadway Open] One Dead, One Major Injury, a Vehicle on Fire, Hwy 101 Closing: Big Rig and Pickup Collide North of Laytonville

Highway 101 after the accident this afternoon with debris littering the roadway and one of the involved vehicles on fire [Photo provided by Jay Biancalana]

A harrowing incident is playing out on Highway 101 north of Laytonville after a pickup truck collided with a big rig. Early reports indicate at least one of the vehicles is on fire, one of the involved parties is dead, and another has suffered moderate to major injuries.

The California Highway Patrol Traffic Incident Information page and the police scanner indicate a traffic collision occurred north of Laytonville on Highway 101 between a semi-truck and a pickup around 2:40 p.m. Initial reports indicated the collision required extrication

Air ambulances declined to respond to the scene due to weather.

An Incident Commander reported that the roadway is blocked and upon getting boots on the ground confirmed one of the vehicles is actively burning. There are reportedly 53 bags of soil scattered across the roadway.

[Screenshot from the CalTrans Quickmap]

The Caltrans Quickmap indicates that traffic is backing up in the area of the collision.

UPDATE 3:06 p.m.: California Highway Patrol has confirmed they are establishing a hard closure of Highway 101 as a result of this incident. An officer requested fire resources stage near Woodruff Flats on one end of the incident to shut down the roadway.

UPDATE 3:13 p.m.: Scanner traffic indicates the driver of the pickup was the party that passed away at the scene and the big rig driver has suffered life-threatening leg injuries.

The collision resulted in a large amount of soil in the roadway and oil mixed within.

Animal control has been requested to the scene after a dog reportedly “emerged from the wreckage.”

UPDATE 3:44 p.m.: The driver of the semi-truck is being transported to Howard Hospital in Willits as a result of his injuries.

UPDATE 4 p.m.: Caltrans reports via Twitter, “US Hwy 101 is *CLOSED * in both directions north of Laytonville in Mendocino County (post mile 76) due to a traffic collision. No estimated time for reopening. Check for updates in the area by selecting “Fast____Slow” under options.”

UPDATE 4:06 p.m.: CHP advises folks to take Highway 1 to Branscomb and vise versa because at this point there is no estimated time for Hwy 101 reopening north of Laytonville.

Update 4:50 p.m.: According to the CHP, Please don’t take Branscomb Road there is too much traffic now. At this point, there is no alternate route and 3-4 hour delay on reopening.

UPDATE 5:12 p.m.: As per scanner traffic, officials are preparing to open Highway 101 to one one-way traffic. The Incident Commander estimated the roadway could reopen in the next thirty minutes to an hour.

UPDATE 7: 20 p.m.: Caltrans is now estimating Highway 101 will fully reopen around 8:00 p.m. this evening.

UPDATE 8:45 p.m.: Despite Caltrans’s estimates that the roadway would be fully reopened at 8:00 p.m., the Caltrans Quickmap indicates the highway is still closed.

9:14 p.m.: Scanner traffic indicates that Highway 101 is now fully open.

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.



  1. Omg How SAD! I volunteer for the Mendocino County CERT(Comunity Emergency Response Team) If I would’ve known at the time after the accident occurred I would have volunteered to help with crowd control and cleaning up, no problem. And I feel so sorry for the dog that survived. I can’t imagine being in that position. That poor dog survives the crash but loses it’s family, and then is taken away by stranger’s. I pray the dog has a home to go back to

    • The surviving dog is with the deceased daughter now they know an love her the other dog didn’t survive

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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 largely 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 to be told.

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