Accident on the Avenue of the Giants takes life of Miranda teen

On Sunday, Nov. 11, at 2:50 a.m., 17-year-old Steven James Hillaire of Miranda was driving a 2005 Chevy Monte Carlo northbound on the Avenue of the Giants (SR-254) north of Miranda when his vehicle ran off the east roadway edge. The vehicle’s left side ultimately collided with a large redwood tree where the vehicle came to rest.

Three of the vehicle’s four passengers sustained major injuries. Shawn Paul Bergeron, age 20, of Phillipsville was transported to Redwood Memorial Hospital in Fortuna with major injuries; Christopher Allen Thompson, age 16, of Rio Dell was transported to St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka with major injuries; Cora Kent Pickens, age 31, of Garberville was transported to Redwood Memorial Hospital with major injuries and was later flown to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital; James Charles Leibman, age 29, of McKinleyville was uninjured but was transported to Redwood Memorial Hospital for precautionary evaluation.

Hillaire was trapped in the driver’s seat and had to be extricated by fire personnel. He was transported to St. Joseph Hospital with major injuries and was later flown to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced deceased Sunday afternoon.

DUI does not appear to be a factor. The California Highway Patrol of the Garberville area office is investigating this traffic collision.

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