Wrong-Way Driver Killed On 101 – January 4, 2012

The accident scene. Photo courtesy Mark Sailors | Arcata Kineticab

California Highway Patrol Press Release

For Immediate Release.

 On Wednesday, January 4, 2012, at approximately 0724 hours, 54-year-old Kathleen Jennings of Arcata, was driving a 1987 Honda Civic, at an unknown speed, southbound, the wrong way, in the northbound #1 lane of US 101, just north of Bayside Cutoff.  Twenty-five-year-old Joshua Larson of Eureka, was driving his 1999 Pontiac Grand Am northbound in the northbound #1 lane, just south of Jennings’ location.

The crash diverted northbound commute traffic onto Old Arcata Road during Jacoby Creek School's monthly Walk & Roll Wednesday people-powered transportation event. KLH | Eye

After observing Jennings in their lane, traffic directly ahead of Larson moved to the right lane.  Larson was unable to avoid the head-on collision.  Both vehicles collided within the #1 lane.

Larson’s vehicle came to rest blocking both northbound lanes, with Larson trapped inside.  Larson received non-life threatening injuries.
After being extricated from his vehicle, Larson was transported to St. Joseph Hospital.  Jennings received fatal injuries and also had to be extricated from the vehicle.  US 101 northbound was closed and traffic was detoured onto Bayside Cutoff to Old Arcata Road.  The roadway was re-opened at approximately 0920 hours.
Emergency personnel from Cal Fire, Arcata Fire District Firefighters, Arcata Police Department, Arcata-Mad River Ambulance and the Humboldt County Coroner responded to the scene of this collision.

These innocent passersby at Jacoby Creek School appeared unscathed by the dense traffic. KLH | Eye

Prior to the collision, at approximately 0712 hours, CHP dispatch received a 9-1-1 call regarding Jennings’ vehicle traveling northbound US 101, just north of Mid-City Motors.  The caller reported that Jennings was weaving in both lanes at 35 mph.  While CHP units were responding to this location, CHP dispatch received several more calls reporting that the Honda was now traveling southbound, in the northbound lanes of US 101, just south of Samoa Blvd.

Both drivers were wearing their seatbelts at the time of the collision.  Evidence found in Jennings’ vehicle indicates alcohol may have been a factor in this collision.  This collision is still under investigation.
Officer Paul Dahlen
Public Information and Recruitment Officer
Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician


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  1. LR said:

    This person has friends and family like everyone else. Keep your thoughtless comments to yourself! It is a shame when any life is tragically and so suddenly lost. Our prayers are with the family may they find peace.

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  3. jj said:

    i am glad one less responsible person . and i am glad there was nobody innocently killed

  4. B said:

    Lou would have more success if he quoted studies that actually show the (fairly minimal) damage of marijuana, instead of spouting crap that has been shown to not be the case in federal studies. WWJD? He’d stop trying to tell other people what to do and let them live the way they want to.

  5. Screw Off, Lou said:

    … Jesus, Lou, can you give it a friggin’ rest? Trying to compare irresponsible and dangerous drunk driving with driving on cannabis, which is rather safe is just clutching at straws.. I bet you never drove the wrong way in the 70’s or even “indulged” in the miracle of one of the oldest medicines known to man. If you can’t stand pot, then GTFU.

  6. Tina said:

    Watched the news tonight and and they showed video of the scene. There was a dog crate in the woman’s vehicle. Any word on whether a dog was hurt, killed, or lost?

  7. IF said:

    Good riddance, anyone who is that drunk at 7 am and puts innocent lives at risk doesn’t deserve a life, or at least deserves a life in prison.

  8. lou said:

    The only time i drove against traffic was on pot.
    That was a long time ago in the 70’s.
    It may be responsible not to indulge.

  9. Thankful said:

    Wow. My son’s mother was on her way to Arcata this morning; this type of thing scares me to death. While it’s never good when anyone dies prematurely, this lunatic sure seemed to get what she wanted. It’s just a shame she felt the need to risk other people’s lives to end her own. How selfish can one be?

  10. Deb said:

    This happened 25 years ago, too. A drunk driving south in the northbound lane slammed into my dear friend, Dave Richards. In that accident, however, both the drunk driving the wrong way AND my friend, who was on his way to work were killed. I am so glad they were not both killed, though of course it would be better had no one been.

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