Press release from the California Highway Patrol:
UPDATE: Willow Creek Resident Post CHP Officer Eric Nelson and Humboldt County Sheriff Deputy Greg O'Rourke were the first emergency responders to arrive on scene. Officer Nelson remained at the top of the embankment in order to help coordinate rescue and vehicle recovery efforts while Deputy O'Rourke descended down the steep embankment despite treacherous conditions to the vehicle and Hunsucker, who had sustained major injuries. After assisting with hooking up tow equipment to the vehicle for eventual recovery, Deputy O'Rourke remained with Hunsucker for oven an hour while relaying extent-of-injury information to the Hoopa Volunteer Fire Department rescue team. The combined efforts of Deputy O'Rourke, Officer Nelson, and the multiple emergency responders are to be commended for an exceptional rescue operation!
At approximately 5:30 p.m., 17 year old Mervin George III of Hoopa was driving a 1995 Jeep Wrangler southbound on State Route 96, north of Hoopa, along with 18 year old Michael Montgomery of Hoopa and 18 year old Peter Hunsucker of McKinleyville. As George negotiated a left curve in the roadway, he lost control of the Jeep, causing the Jeep to drive off the west roadway edge and overturn multiple times approximately 120 feet down a steep embankment. George, along with Montgomery, who was restrained in the front passenger seat at the time of the collision, climbed up to the roadway where they awaited emergency personnel arrival. Hunsucker, who was unrestrained in the rear of the vehicle at the time of the collision, was ejected from the vehicle through the course of the collision and suffered major non-life threatening injuries to his left leg. Due to the extent of Hunsucker's injuries, the Hoopa Volunteer Fire Department performed a rope technical rescue up the hillside. Hunsucker was transported by ground ambulance to the Willow Creek Airport where he was then transferred a REACH Air ambulance and transported to Mercy Medical Center in Redding. Montgomery was transported by ground ambulance to Mad River Community Hospital in Arcata with minor injuries to his left arm and shoulder. George did not sustain any injuries out of this traffic collision.
DUI is not a factor and the California Highway Patrol Humboldt Area is investigating this traffic collision. The CHP would like to acknowledge the quick response and assistance of the Hoopa Volunteer Fire Department, Hoopa Tribal Police, Humboldt County Sheriff Department, and REACH Air Medical Services, who each played a critical role in expediting the rescue and transport of the involved victims.