WILLITS, 11/6/18 -- Yesterday, a motorist traveling north on U.S. Route 101 veered off the highway, off the embankment and crashed into a tree. His car caught fire and while other motorists stopped and attempted to extricate him, they could not, and once the fire was extinguished he was pronounced dead at the scene.
The deceased has not yet been identified, nor has the cause of the accident been ascertained. The vehicle fire spread somewhat into neighboring vegetation, but did not go far and traffic was delayed for a time during the fire, and while the car was removed.
Here is the full press release from the California Highway Patrol:
On November 5, 2018, at approximately 1418 hours, a BMW X3 was being driven northbound on US-101, at an unknown rate of speed. For reasons still under investigation, the male driver allowed his vehicle to travel off of the east roadway edge, down an embankment where it collided with a large tree. The BMW became engulfed in flames after the collision. Several passing motorists stopped at the scene and attempted to extricate the driver from the BMW but were unsuccessful due to the vehicle fire. Upon the fire being extinguished, the driver was pronounced deceased at the scene. The identity of the driver is unknown at this time and is pending investigation by the Mendocino County Coroner's Office.
Personnel from the California Highway Patrol responded and assumed incident command.
Personnel from Cahto Tribal Police, Mendocino County Sheriff's Department, Cal-Fire, and Cal-Trans all responded and assisted at the scene. Traffic was stopped in both directions briefly, then one way traffic control was conducted as emergency responders worked at the scene.
Alcohol and/or drugs as a factor in this collision is still under investigation. This incident remains under investigation by the California Highway Patrol.