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Two Eureka Residents Die in Last Week’s Fiery Crash North of Ukiah–Another Decendent’s Identity Still Pending

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First responders at the scene of the accident [Photograph provided by a Mendocino County resident]

Two of the three people who died after their vehicle veered off Highway 101 north of Ukiah last Tuesday, April 4, 2023, have been identified as residents of Eureka, California. One decedent remains unidentified, according to the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office.

MCSO’s Captain Greg Van Patten told us that 30-year-old Gavin Lee Backues and 22-year-old Caroline Amber Salcido, both residents of Eureka in Humboldt County, died in the accident and the third decedent’s identity remains unknown. Captain Van Patten said the parties were returning home when the accident occurred.

According to the Press Democrat, “The identifications were made based on surgical history and a known tattoo. The third occupant’s identity will be determined pending DNA analysis.”

A report published by the California Highway Patrol last week stated the accident occurred at 6:12 a.m. The trio was traveling in a 2001 Toyota Echo sedan northbound on Highway 101 when they veered off the roadway near Pomo Lane striking a tree. Soon after, the vehicle caught fire which fully engulfed the vehicle killing all three in the vehicle.

We have contacted California Highway Patrol Office Olegario Marin, the Public Information Officer for the Ukiah office, for results of the standard 24-hour review of the driver’s activities before and up to the time of death for more information.


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Matt LaFever
Matt LaFeverhttps://mendofever.com/
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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