Friday, March 31, 2023
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Detectives Investigating ‘Suspicious Death’ at Ukiah Apartment Complex This Evening

[Stock image by Matt LaFever]

What initially was reported as a medical aid call to Ukiah’s Willow Terrace Apartments on East Gobbi Street has proven to be a “suspicious death”, as per Ukiah Police Department’s Lieutenant Andrew Phillips. 

Lieutenant Phillips could not provide any information regarding the decedent, suspects, or the nature of the incident due to the ongoing nature of the investigation. He did tell us UPD became involved in the situation around 1:30 this afternoon after officers were called to the scene of a medical call that paramedics thought “suspicious.”

A review of scanner traffic from the time referenced by Lieutenant Phillips confirms around 1:10 p.m., scanner traffic medical personnel were called on an echo response to the apartment complex, code for imminent death. CPR was reportedly in progress.

Detectives are actively investigating and have cordoned off a small section of the apartment complex on 237 East Gobbi Street while they process the scene. 

Lieutenant Phillips told us that detectives will secure the area overnight as they wait for Department of Justice investigators to assist in the processing of the scene tomorrow.

More information regarding the incident will be released tomorrow, Lieutenant Phillips said.  

52-Year-Old Hidden Valley Woman Dies After Roll-Over Accident in Southern Lake County

The following is a press release issued by the California Highway Patrol Clearlake Office. The information has not been proven in a court of law and any individuals described should be presumed innocent until proven guilty:

[Stock photo by Matt LaFever]

On March 30, 2023, at approximately 1418 hours, CHP Clear Lake Area received a call of a crash with a vehicle down an embankment.  CHP units arrived on scene, SR-29 south of Bradford Road, an unincorporated area of southern Lake County.   It was determined this crash involved a solo vehicle (2003, Toyota) that was traveling southbound SR-29 in the vicinity of Bradford Road, when the solo occupant and driver failed to maintain the roadway.  As a result, the Toyota left the west road edge and impacted two trees before rolling over.  The Toyota came to rest down an embankment at the edge of St. Helena Creek. As a result of the crash, the driver sustained fatal injuires.   No other vehicles were involved, and no other injuries were reported.  Traffic at the time was minimal and not impacted due to the crash scene being located off the highway.  

This crash is still under investigation by CHP Clear Lake.  The name of the involved party is being withheld pending notification to Next of Kin.

If you have any further details regarding this crash, please contact the CHP Clear Lake Area at (707) 279-0103, Officer Mahoney. 


Angry and Broken-Hearted, the Round Valley Tribe Demands Witnesses of Recent Murder Come Forward

20-year-old Nicholas Whipple, found murdered early Wednesday morning [Photograph provided by Round Valley Tribe Vice President Lewis Whipple]

.The Round Valley community is reeling from the brutal murder of twenty-year-old Nicholas Whipple early Wednesday morning. At a standing-room-only press conference at the Round Valley Tribal Administration Building yesterday, tribal members called out drugs and alcohol, a reluctance to report crimes to law enforcement, and law enforcement itself, for the many unsolved crimes on the reservation.

Tribal council members wept as they pleaded with the community to come forward if they witnessed Whipple’s murder. Lewis Whipple, Vice President of the Round Valley Indian Tribes, listed the names of murdered community members as Nicholas Whipple’s aunt held up pictures of her nephew and women wailed.

“Our people want to cover for these people?” he demanded. “Come on, you guys, I grew up in this community. You raised me. We need you to stand up. Speak!”

One after another, people objected that they have reported crimes, but the violence continues. After the press conference, Valerie Britton, Nicholas Whipple’s great-aunt, predicted that, “After this case, I’ll guarantee you, they’re gonna say, they didn’t have enough evidence to convict him. Regardless of how many witnesses come forward.”

Another woman who did not share her name added that, “That’s why people are afraid to come forward, though. They make a stand, and say something, and then they get retribution.”

Tribal Council member Michelle Downey urged people not to be afraid, even as the community grieves the 2021 shooting murder of Kenneth Whipple, another member of the same family. “We just want to make sure that our community knows how important it is to stand up and speak up for what is right, and know that it’s the right thing to say if you’ve seen who took another person’s life,” she said. “Don’t be afraid. Be strong. We heard from the aunt of Nick today, and she said to be that strong warrior woman. I see we have become those strong warrior women, standing up for our community.”

Details about the crime have not emerged, but as of yesterday afternoon, Sheriff Matthew Kendall said the murder victim was beaten so badly he could not yet confirm if he had also been shot. Asked if witnesses could be protected if they do come forward, he said, “We do a lot of different things to offer anonymity,” like sealing search warrants. He added that during trials, the District Attorney’s Victim Witness Office “works to make sure our victims and witnesses are taken care of.”

Valerie Britton remains skeptical, stating that, “We don’t get services up here. I said that loud and clear in that meeting, because we don’t.” She added that after Whipple’s murder, she counted eighteen law enforcement vehicles in town. “What have they done? Who have they arrested? For that many resources to sit there after a kid was killed?” In addition to two of her nephews, Britton’s brother Michael Pina was killed in 2014. His murder has still not been solved. “You can’t even get over one death before there’s another,” she said. “And then the sheriff’s department wants to come up here and do what? Give us lip service. I’m tired of their lip service.”

Kendall said that, “Some of the things I heard today actually had not ever been reported…you have to remember, sometimes people say, well, I called the Sheriff’s Office, but in fact, they left a message for the Tribal Police Department, or they said, I called Tribal, but they had spoken with one of my deputies. So there is a little confusion there…you know, I think everyone has an absolute right to say that we don’t have enough sheriff’s office presence throughout the county. We’re running on a crew that’s as low as any I’ve ever seen, and we’re still doing better than many other counties.”

Britton says familiarity with death comes all too early in Round Valley, saying, “Our young kids are very aware of what death is, and how parents and nieces and nephews and aunts and uncles don’t come back.” 

Laura Betts, another tribal member, worries that if the most recent crime isn’t solved soon, it could lead to further violence. “We try to be supportive,” she said; “to say please, think of your younger kids, please don’t go sit in a jail, please don’t go hunt them down.”

Both women believe that people in the community know who the killer is. “I think a lot of people know who committed this crime,” Britton said. “Absolutely.” 

Kendall wouldn’t say if there is a suspect. But he thinks yesterday’s meeting may turn up some useful leads. He said his hopes before the press conference were that, “A lot of our tribal leaders would reach out to people in the tribe and say, this affects us. Stop the prison mentality. If you see something, say something. Be a good resident, be a good tribal member, be a good community member. And that was the message that a hundred percent of the tribal council gave, and we already started getting calls of extremely viable witnesses. People who can tell us exactly what happened.”

Previous Coverage

Where Are You, Riley?: Last Seen Four Days Ago, the Search for Missing Brooktrails Man Continues

Riley Hsieh, a 24-year-old man living in Brooktrials, walked away from his home on Monday, March 27, 2023. Around 11:15 that morning, he took off on foot carrying a bag, turned off his phone, and four days later, his whereabouts are unknown.

Mendocino County’s Search and Rescue team was joined by multiple SAR teams from nearby counties and other agencies yesterday in their search for the missing man. A total of 41 search and rescue personnel combed the forests and hills of Brooktrials.

Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Captain Greg Van Patten told us a Brooktrails resident reported a possible sighting of Hsieh yesterday. SAR members were unable to locate anyone in the area of the sighting.

Captain Van Patten said local SAR resources will deploy today continuing their efforts to locate the young man.

Multiple search and rescue agencies stage as they plan their search for missing man Riley Hsieh [Picture from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office]

Jenna Hsieh, Riley’s brother, told us her brother has never left without notice. She also described his cell phone being turned off as “very unusual”.

Jenna is concerned that her brother was “suffering a mental health crisis” when he walked off from his home on Hawk Terrace, a road in the Brooktrails subdivision northwest of Willits proper. 

Thie missing man was known to embark on long walks around Brooktrails exploring areas near Lake Emily, the airport, and the disc golf course.

Surveillance footage that captured Hsieh the day he went missing [Picture from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office]

Riley Hsieh is as an Asian American male standing 5’10” and weighing 130 pounds. Surveillance footage captured him on the day he left his home on foot wearing a gray robe, light blue pants (possibly flannel), and carrying a light blue or green bag.

MCSO is asking Brooktrails residents to review any exterior-facing security camera footage for any sign of the missing man. 

If anyone has information regarding Riley Hsieh’s whereabouts, please contact MCSO at (707)463-4086.

Previous Coverage

A Sense of Urgency at Mendocino Russian River Forum as Leaders Consider Continued Water Release at Lake Pillsbury

Scott Dam that controls the flow coming out of Lake Pillsbury [Picture from the Mendocino County Farm Bureau]

There was an urgent tone to the combined special meeting of the Mendocino County Inland Water and Power Commission (MCIWPC) and the Russian River Flood Control and Water Conservation Improvement District (RRFC), and agriculture representatives, held at the County Ag building in Ukiah on March 23, 2023, at 5:00 pm. 

The MCIWPC is a joint powers authority comprised of The County of Mendocino, The City of Ukiah, The Redwood Valley County Water District, The Potter Valley Irrigation District, and RRFC. Janet Pauli, Board Member of the Potter Valley Irrigation District (PVID), and also Commissioner and Chair of the MCIWPC, led the meeting, with much input from Elizabeth Salomone, General Manager of RRFC. 

PG&E announced on March 16 that it would not be closing the gates at Scott Dam in April for seismic reasons, which will result in less water stored in Lake Pillsbury this summer. Flow releases are expected to be similar to those of 2021, at the height of the drought. PG&E also announced that it will not be repairing the damaged transformer at the Potter Valley Power Station. December 2024 is the approximate deadline for PG&E to submit its license surrender application to FERC. A letter to PG&E dated March 28, posted on FERC’s elibrary, stated that PG&E must complete an amendment application, and was not authorized to make the decision to leave the gates open. 

The Potter Valley Project was built as a hydroelectric power plant that began producing power in 1908. PG&E acquired the project in 1930. Water from the Eel River is diverted through a tunnel into the powerhouse in Potter Valley. Water from the powerhouse flows into the Upper Russian River and then into Lake Mendocino, where it is released downstream into the Russian River. 

PG&E has never charged for the water coming out of the project, it was used to generate power. PG&E’s operations at the powerhouse have been losing money for a long time, and they want out. Managers of various water agencies that depend on this water have known about this for several years and have been trying to find a solution. 

The RRFC and MCIWPC are part of the Russian River Water Forum, “a collaborative effort initiated by Sonoma Water and a collection of regional partners with funding from the California Department of Water Resources.” (from the RRWF website). The collection of partners is drawn from the many governmental water agencies, non-governmental agencies, and Tribes in the Eel River and Russian River watersheds. The RRWF, with its broad coalition of interests, is where all the groups are supposed to meet and collaborate on solutions transparently. 

This is neatly summed up in the report from Kearns & West prepared for the State Department of Water Resources.

The purposes of the meeting were: 1) to give an overview and update on the RRWF; 2) explanation of the process for nominating representatives for the Water Forum Planning Committee; and 3) discussion and nomination of representatives from Mendocino County to the Planning Committee. 

The Russian River between Cloverdale and Hopland [Picture by Matt LaFever]

Mendocino and Sonoma Counties are part of the Russian River Caucus of the RRWF. (A caucus is a group whose members have similar interests). The following seats on the Planning Committee will be available for Mendocino County: Water Suppliers – 4 seats and 4 alternates; County Representative – 1 seat and 1 alternate; Agriculture and Resource Conservation District – 2 seats and 2 alternates. The time commitment required of these representatives is still to be determined. The meetings will be held in rotating locations in the Eel and Russian River Watersheds. 

The Planning Committee of the RRWF is comprised of representatives from all the caucuses in the RRWF. None of the representatives from any caucus will have voting power, as the Planning Committee’s purpose is to meet for discussion and advisory purposes. Planning Committee recommendations will be conveyed to elected officials from the county, state and federal levels for possible action.

A number of Mendocino County leaders attended, including Darcy Antle, County CEO; Supervisors Glenn McGourty and Mo Mulheren; Deborah Edelman and Joe Scriven of the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District; John Rearden of RRFC; Adam Gaska, Bree Klotter and Cassie Taaning, of the Redwood Valley County Water District; Sean White from the City of Ukiah; former County Supervisor Carre Brown; Ft. Bragg Mayor Bernie Norvell; Frost Pauli, Brandon Axell, Peter Johnson, Tyler Nelson, Tyler Rodrigue, Alfred White, Guiness McFadden, David Koball, and Pete Chevalier, from the agricultural side.

After the meeting, when asked how the RRWF differs from the Two Basin Solution formed in 2018, Janet Pauli said that the Two Basin Solution Partnership was an ad hoc group comprised of California Trout, County of Humboldt, MCIWPC, the Round Valley Indian Tribes, and the Sonoma County Water Agency. The group explored terms for a new license, but could not meet the deadline. FERC directed PG&E to begin the license surrender. The RRWF was formed, in part, to create a new entity that could negotiate with PG&E to acquire the diversion facilities. Grant funding for the formation of the entity and initial acquisition of the facilities has been secured. After that, on an ongoing basis, the facility will be funded by customers who use the water.

After the meeting, Elizabeth Salomone said, “I see the Water Forum as the meeting place for various stakeholders to stay informed and collaborate on water supply and resiliency issues, including the future of the Eel River diversion to the Russian River. This group will inform projects, actions, collaborations, and maybe the venue for securing water for our future. It can provide a venue for shifting our collective perspective to holistic approaches, connecting us, and building relationships in stewarding natural resources.”

The degree of impact will be greatest at the top end of the Russian River watershed, but users south of Healdsburg will also be affected. The Mendocino and Sonoma water agencies and agricultural groups who depend on this water are proactively working to secure water rights for the future.

The goals of the Planning Committee are:

  1. To form a funded regional entity to secure water rights, to negotiate with PG&E about assuming responsibility for the Potter Valley Project, and to maintain the diversion, as PG&E will not negotiate with a collection of various individuals. The entity needs to be formed and funded by December 2024, when PG&E is expected to announce its license surrender plan. The regional entity would not generate hydroelectric power. It would acquire the diversion element, including the fish screen and the tunnel, and re-engineer the water to bypass the powerhouse, and to flow into the East Branch of the Upper Russian River.
  1. Having a dependency on the diversion is not the final goal. Looking at the watershed as a whole, the amounts of rainfall in wet vs. dry years, finding alternatives for possible water storage, conservation and other measures will be needed to ensure sustainable water availability in the future.

There were two sets of informational slides posted on the meeting agenda, here are links to the first set of slides and the additional slides. RRWF has an email sign up page for those interested in receiving updates.

Victim Identified in Yesterday’s Homicide in Covelo

Press release from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office:

On 03-29-2023 at approximately 4:34 AM the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center received a report of an adult male in need of emergency medical assistance on Tabor Lane in Covelo, California.

Deputies were dispatched to the location as it appeared the adult male had sustained some type of injury possibly the result of a physical assault.

Personnel from the Round Valley Tribal Police Department arrived first and began providing CPR as the adult male was absent breathing and a pulse.  Medical personnel arrived thereafter and after some time the adult male was declared deceased as emergency life saving efforts were unsuccessful.

Deputies arrived and noticed the adult male had what appeared to be a possible gunshot wound. Sheriff’s Detectives were summoned to the scene and began a death investigation with the assistance of the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office, Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force (MMCTF) and criminalist with the California Department of Justice.

Investigations into the circumstances of the adult male’s death are currently ongoing, thus no further information is currently available for public release.

The adult male has been identified as being Nicholas Shehli Whipple, a 20-year-old male from Redwood Valley (California).

A forensic autopsy has been scheduled for the afternoon of 03-30-2023.

Anyone with information that can assist Sheriff’s Detectives with this death investigation are urged to contact the Sheriff’s Office Tip-Line by calling 707-234-2100 or the WeTip Anonymous Crime Reporting Hotline by calling 800-782-7463.

The Search for Missing Brooktrails Man Moves Into the Second Day


24-year-old Riley Hsieh left his Brooktrails home around noon on Monday, March 27, 2023. Aside from a couple of chance sightings, he has not been seen since. 

Yesterday, Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office deputies and Search and Rescue volunteers combed the area and will return to the area today to continue looking for the missing man.

MCSO Captain Greg Van Patten told us twelve MendoSAR personnel including K9 tracking resources searched the area yesterday. These efforts did not result in any leads and more search and rescue personnel from out-of-area agencies will be assisting in the search for Hsieh today.

Information released by MCSO indicates Hsieh left his Brooktrails home on Hawk Terrace around 11:15 a.m. on Monday. Around noon, he was seen near the Willits Airport. The final possible sighting was around 3:15 p.m. “possibly near his home on Hawk Terrace.”

Jenna Hsieh, Riley’s sister, said her brother has “no history of leaving without telling anyone. His phone is off which is very unusual.”

Jenna told us her brother could possibly be “suffering a mental health crisis” related to the death of a family member.

Jenna reached out to her brother’s friends and, “none of them have heard from him so I really am at a loss as to where else he might be.”

Riley often went on long walks around him. Jenna said her brother “likes to be in nature and meditate” often walking near Lake Emily, the airport, and the disc golf course. He likely has a Buddha statue and a prayer bowl with him.”

Riley John Hsieh is 24 years old and described as an Asian American adult. He was last seen wearing a gray robe, blue pants, and carrying a light blue or green bag. Jenna said her brother “wears contacts but he might be wearing glasses” and likely appears “very thin and he looked disheveled when he left.”

A missing person flyer from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office]

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office asks that residents of the Brooktrails “check their exterior facing security cameras from Monday (03-27-23) at 11:15 AM to date in an attempt to locate any footage of Riley.”

If anyone has information that could help in the search for Riley Hsieh, call the Sheriff’s Office 24-hour dispatch center at (707)463-4086.

Previous Coverage

Great Redwood Trail Planners Tout Potential Tourism Profits While Mendo Residents Express Concerns at Community Workshop

A sign for the Great Redwood Trail in Ukiah [Picture from the Great Redwood Trail Facebook page]

The Great Redwood Trail planners held a community workshop in Willits from 6 to 8 pm on Thursday, March 23. The purpose of the workshop was to showcase the section of the trail that will go through Willits, as well as to gather suggestions, comments, and concerns from the public, and also to provide information about the entire 316-mile trail, planned to eventually run from San Francisco Bay to Humboldt Bay. 

Several agencies are involved in the trail planning and building, and representatives were on hand to answer questions. George Foster, of Alta urban planners was at the front desk, offering index cards and pens for those who wanted to leave written comments. The organizers are gathering comments from the public to analyze while planning the trail. 

District 3 Supervisor John Haschak was on hand, ready to hear comments and concerns from his constituents.

Sarah Marshall, Policy and Promotions Manager, North Coast Opportunities, said it’s important that the planners hear any concerns that people have. Marshall will be at various events in Willits, such as Frontier Days so that people who missed this meeting will have a chance to learn more and to express their views. 

Louisa Morris, Project Development Specialist with the Coastal Conservancy, was staffed on this project because she has experience in successfully developing the California Coastal Trail, from the Oregon border to the Mexican border, along the California coast. The Coastal Trail passes through many jurisdictions, even larger in scope than the GRT. She said the GRT will be completed in stages and will take years to finalize.  

Laura Cohen, Western Regional Director of the Rails to Trails Conservancy, worked with City of Willits staff to apply for $6.5 million in rail funding for the Willits trail section. Laura also prepares case studies on the subject of trail development. For example, on the Olympic Discovery Trail in Washington state, some of the property owners along the trail who were the most vocal critics before the trail was built, ended up loving the trail. Some built gates so they could access the trail directly from their property. 

A Redwood Valley resident, whose property adjoins the railroad tracks, said he has mixed feelings about the project. He came to the event to learn more. 

In addition to the comment cards, there were large white posterboards available to jot down suggestions and concerns.

Some Concerns Expressed by Meeting Attendees

Planning Workshop Attendees [Photo by Monica Huettl]
  • How will the GRT handle sanitation & trash?
  • Privacy and protection for neighboring landowners
  • Who will pay for this?
  • Loose dogs roaming the trail
  • Who will maintain it?
  • Who will patrol it?
  • Who will handle medical emergencies?

Some Suggestions from Meeting Attendees

  • Kayak and canoe launches along the Eel River portion of the trail 
  • Access at various points along the trail for campgrounds and trailheads
  • Include native tribal cultural information and education
  • Concessions for equipment rentals and local food sales 
  • Ranch and farm tours, B&Bs, farmers markets
  • Include restrooms

A Brief History of this Project

In 1998 the NWP Railroad ceased operations. In 2018, feasibility reports were done on uses for the railroad tracks. In 2021, State Senator Mike McGuire sponsored a bill that was passed to create the Great Redwood Trail Agency. This requires the rail corridor to be preserved by rail banking, defined on the GRTA website as a “method established in the National Trails System Act to preserve an out-of-service rail corridor through interim use as a trail. Railbanking allows a trail to be built as a rail-to-trail, where the trail can be located within or on top of the historic rail alignment.” In 2022 the Ukiah portion of the GRT was opened to the public. Construction on the Willits section is scheduled for 2024. A map and description of the Willits trail is available on this City of Willits link.

Rails to Trails Has Been Successful in Other Parts of the Country

Many of the people involved in planning the GRT have experience with other rail trails. George Foster is both a planner and a trail user. He described a bike trip with his father, Dwight, on the Great Allegheny Passage. A picture from the trip was displayed on one of the informational posters. There are long stretches of rural country, where the trail is not crowded. When the trail goes through a town, it gives trail users a chance to buy food and supplies or stop for the night. The sections going through towns are more heavily used by locals enjoying the trail for recreation.

Best Practices that Contribute to a Successful Rail Trail

  • Protecting and restoring the environment along the trail
  • Support for firefighting and emergency access
  • Informational signage so that trail users do not disturb neighbors, livestock or agriculture
  • Fencing, landscape, and buffers next to private property
  • Safety patrols

Economic Development

Trail boosters say that the trail will support economic development through tourism and environmental restoration. The GRTA planners project that 2 to 3.1 million tourists will use the trail annually, producing revenue of $62,693,000. Workshops will be offered to local businesses on how to attract customers from the trail.

Fifth Amendment Takings and Eminent Domain

There was a stack of Rails-to-Trails Contingency Fee Agreements from Flint Cooper and Mannon, King, Johnson, and WIPF LLP law firms at an otherwise empty table. There was nobody at the table. The firm website contains a section on Rails-to-Trails lawsuits. Nobody answered the phone at the numbers listed on the fee agreements and website, and the firm did not reply to an email inquiry. Were these fee agreements left on the table via a stealth drop? A phone call with Jeff Knowles of Alta confirmed that these fee agreements were not part of the official event. 

How to Stay Informed on Progress of the Rail Trail

You can sign up for email newsletters from the Great Redwood Trail Agency here or follow the Great Redwood Trail on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

Former Park Ranger Found DUI in Uniform and Armed Sentenced to Six Years for Recent Crash That Caused Life-Threatening Injuries to Arcata Girl

A photo of Tyson Young on the job outside of Miranda in 2014. [Photo provided by Jack Hurst]

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.

Tyson Young, the driver of the gold Toyota was arrested for a DUI and transported to Santa Rosa for medical treatment. [Photo by Renee Selix]

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.

Tyson Young [Booking photos from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department]

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.

Man Shot at Lake County Town of Nice—18-Year-Old Arrested for Attempted Murder

The following is a press release issued by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. The information has not been proven in a court of law and any individuals described should be presumed innocent until proven guilty:

Jesse Gonzalez [Mugshot from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office Booking Logs]

On March 28th, 2023 at 12:30 AM, Lake County Sheriff Deputies were dispatched to the area of Sentry Market, in Nice, for a reported gunshot victim. Deputies arrived on scene and located an adult male victim who suffered from a gunshot wound to the arm. The victim was transported to a local hospital where he was treated for a non-life-threatening gunshot wound. Deputies were able to locate the original scene where the shooting took place, which was in the 4400 block of Lakeview Drive, Nice.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit responded and took over the investigation. Detectives were able to identify a suspect in the case and tracked him to the Lakeport area. In the late morning of March 28th, Detectives served a search warrant at a residence located on Red Feather Lane in Lakeport and gathered evidence related to the shooting. Detectives located and arrested 18-year-old Jesse Gonzalez of Kelseyville. He was booked into the Hill Road Correctional Facility on conspiracy to commit attempted murder and attempted robbery.

Detectives are asking anyone with additional information regarding this investigation to contact Detective Dean Preader by email at or 707-262-4200.

Gun Death in Covelo—Detectives Investigating

[Stock photo by Matt LaFever]

A 20-year-old Covelo man was found dead early this morning from an apparent gunshot wound. Detectives with the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office are investigating.

MCSO Captain Greg Van Patten told us “we are actively investigating what appears to be a gunshot-related death that was reported to the Sheriff’s Office early this morning

Scanner traffic beginning around 4:34 a.m. indicated a man was lying in the middle of Tabor Lane bleeding from a gunshot wound to the chest. First responders attempted CPR but declared him dead within 20 minutes.

Responding deputies asked that the scene remain intact and that first responders block off the roadway so they could conduct their investigation.

Captain Van Patten could not provide any further information because investigations are ongoing. “Once information becomes available for public release, it will be disseminated by press release possibly later today or sometime tomorrow.”