“Luis Melendez Hernandez, 25, of Santa Ana, Identified as Victim in Fatal Crash on Highway 101”

By | July 21, 2023



On Wednesday, two car crashes caused major traffic delays on the southbound U.S. Highway 101 in Arcata. The first crash, which resulted in a fatality, is still under investigation. The driver, identified as Luis Melendez Hernandez, 25, from Santa Ana, lost their life in the solo vehicle crash. Emergency services were called after a vehicle with significant damage was found on the highway around 6 a.m. Upon discovering the deceased person, fire and medical services were also requested.

The second crash involved four vehicles and was caused by speeding in the area affected by the lane closure. The collision occurred around 8 a.m., north of Giuntoli Lane. Although two vehicles needed to be towed from the scene, thankfully, it was a noninjury crash, and no one required hospital care.

CHP Sgt. Caleb Carcey explained that the decision to close the second lane was made to protect the fire personnel while they worked to remove the body and recover the vehicle. Unfortunately, this closure caused a backup of traffic during the regular morning rush hour.

Carcey emphasized that despite warning signs about the lane closure, some drivers were still speeding through the area, leading to the collision between the four vehicles. He described the first crash as tragic and stated that the investigation was ongoing.

Emergency personnel were able to clear the area by 10 a.m. on Wednesday, allowing traffic to return to normal. The incidents serve as a reminder of the importance of driving safely and adhering to traffic regulations, especially in areas where emergency personnel are working..