WILLITS, 3/12/19 -- The man killed yesterday when his car crashed head-on into a big rig was Patrick Herbstritt, 38 of Laytonville. He was driving with his two children, ages 3 and 5, who both suffered major injuries and were airlifted to UC Davis Medical Center, though one of them was first transported by ground and then later airlifted. There is currently no word on the condition of the children.
According to the California Highway Patrol, Herbstritt was driving his Saturn sedan south on U.S. Route 101, north of Shimmins Ridge Rd., when for an unknown reason he swerved across the highway into the northbound lanes, struck the guardrail, then crashed head-on into a big rig traveling north in the northbound lane. The truck driver, Francisco Rodriguez, 29, was traveling with his wife, Reyna Rodriguez and their 8 year old child -- none of them suffered any injuries in the crash.
The crash in the northbound lanes resulted in temporary closure of the highway followed by several hours of one-way traffic control.
The CHP has stated that at this point they do not have anything indicating that drugs or alcohol were involved, though a toxicology test will be preformed as is standard. The cause of the accident is under investigation.
Here is the press released from the CHP
March 11, 2019, at approximately 1151 hours, Herbstritt, with two juvenile passengers, was driving a 1998 Saturn Sedan southbound on US-101, north of Shimmins Ridge Road. Francisco Rodriguez was driving a 2011 Freightliner towing an unloaded flatbed trailer northbound on US-101, north of Shimmins Ridge Road. For reasons still under investigation, the driver of the Saturn lost control of his vehicle, which traveled across the northbound lanes and collided with the guardrail on the east side of US-101. The Saturn continued into the path of the Freightliner and both vehicles collided within the northbound lanes. The driver of Saturn was pronounced deceased at the scene and both juvenile passengers sustained major injuries. The driver of the Freightliner and his passengers did not sustain any injuries.
The cause of this collision remains under investigation by the California Highway Patrol.
The California Highway Patrol responded and assumed incident command. Personnel from Cal-Fire, Willits Fire, Brooktrails Volunteer Fire Cal-Trans, and City Ambulance assisted with the scene. Mendocino County Coroner's Office responded to the scene.
R. Fowler 03/12/2019
Here is our article from yesterday: