Last Friday, the Mendocino County courts sentenced a Fortuna man, Tyson Young (age 41), for an August 12, 2022 DUI crash north of Leggett into an Arcata family’s vehicle which not only sent an adult woman to the hospital with moderate injures, but caused a life-threatening, partial amputation leg injury to her 15-year-old daughter who had to be medevacked to a hospital.
The judge sentenced Young, who had pled guilty, to six years in prison for the crash which also left him with major injuries.
Almost exactly eight years previous to the crash, on August 15, 2014, Tyson Young, then a California State Park ranger, was arrested for driving his state issued vehicle under the influence (DUI) in Humboldt County. On that day, a local business owner discovered him apparently under the influence of alcohol beside the Avenue of the Giants with his truck still running, his head lolling against the doorjamb, and a Keystone beer between his legs all while in uniform with standard firearms for a State Park ranger.
First the man tried to wake him and then failing to do that and realizing Young was passed out drunk, he called 911 and snapped the above photo as evidence. Young woke up before law enforcement arrived and began driving north on the Avenue of the Giants. Eventually, California Highway Patrol (CHP)officer located Young driving erratically near Myers Flat.
In a subsequent investigation by the ABC7 News I-Team, they learned from the CHP report that Young “blew a .236, nearly three times the legal limit” and got “in a tussle” with the arresting officers. According to their report, Young “served one day in jail, and an six additional days were dismissed because he spent a month in rehab.” In addition, he lost his job with the State Parks.
Below is the Facebook post of the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office about Tyson Young’s sentencing for the August 2022 crash that severely injured a teenage girl and also sent her mother to the hospital:
A notorious DUI defendant’s bid for leniency and a grant of probation was denied Friday morning in the Mendocino County Superior Court. Instead, he was sentenced to six years in state prison.
Defendant Tyson Randall Young, age 41 of Fortuna, was convicted by plea in early February of driving a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol causing injury to another and driving a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol .08 or greater causing injury to another, both as felonies.
He also admitted as true special sentencing allegations charged by the DA alleging that he inflicted great bodily injury on a victim, that he caused injury to an additional victim, that he had suffered a prior DUI conviction in 2014, and that had an excessive level of blood alcohol (.27/.27) at the time of the 2022 collision.
In August of last year, the California Highway Patrol determined that defendant Young crossed the double yellow lines while driving southbound In Mendocino County on Highway 101, slamming into a northbound minivan carrying a family of five returning home from a trip to Disneyland.
While the mother in the van was also injured, one of the three daughters was the focus of the first responders as she was suffering from life-threatening injuries.
The daughter’s leg was broken such that her injuries constituted a partial amputation by trauma. She was taken from the scene by air medevac and eventually admitted to UC Davis Medical Center, where her medical bills exceeded $1 million.
Because defendant Tyson admitted he inflicted great bodily on the young victim, this crime is deemed one of the few violent felonies defined by the California Penal Code.
As such, the early release credits that defendant Tyson may attempt to earn at the Department of Corrections are to be limited to 15% of the overall sentence, meaning the defendant should be required by prison authorities to serve 61.5 months of the 72 months ordered by the local court before being released on parole.
Defendant Young is characterized as notorious due to a prior Humboldt County DUI arrest and conviction that garnered significant local and out-of-the-area media coverage.
In 2014, a citizen observed a State Parks law enforcement truck pulled over on the side of Humboldt County’s Avenue of the Giants with its engine running and lights on.
The citizen stopped to make sure the vehicle’s driver was okay and not having a medical emergency. What he found – and photographed – was defendant Young, an on-duty supervising state parks ranger, passed out in the driver’s seat with an open beer between his legs.
Defendant Tyson, prosecuted in Eureka, was convicted in that 2014 case of driving with a blood alcohol of .24. Tyson was eventually terminated by State Parks, but managed to later get hired by Caltrans.
The law enforcement agencies that developed the evidence underlying the defendant’s Mendocino County convictions were the California Highway Patrol, Cal Fire, and the Department of Justice crime laboratory.
Special thanks are extended to the caring individuals, which included a nurse, who stopped to help the family at the crash scene, the medical first responders, and the trauma teams that saved the daughter’s leg.
Special thanks also to the private law firm of Janssen Malloy in Eureka for providing additional information and assistance to Mendocino County prosecutors regarding the case.
The prosecutor who has been handling this case and who argued Friday morning for a state prison sentence was District Attorney David Eyster.
Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Keith Faulder presided over the Friday morning sentencing hearing.