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Hwy 299 fatal traffic collision due to distracted driving

ARCATA- The fatal accident on highway 299 that killed a 23-year-old has been associated with distracted driving according to the California Highway Patrol.

The crash happened near Blue Lake, west of the Glendale under crossing where the vehicle collided head on with a bridge.

Dylan Ruiz was the victim.

Evidence indicates he was handling his cell phone at the time of the crash. There was also partially eaten food on the floor board indicating Ruiz was eating before the crash.

Investigators also believe he was driving upwards of 90 miles per hour at the time of the crash.



The following is from the California Highway Patrol:

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) Humboldt Area is in the process of investigating a fatal traffic collision that occurred the early morning of Thursday, October 16 on State Route 299, west of the Glendale undercrossing.  The deadly collision occurred when 23 year old Dylan Ruiz of McKinleyville drove his vehicle off State Route 299 and ultimately collided head-on into a concrete bridge rail.

While the collision is still under investigation by the CHP, several details have been discovered that are believed to be contributing factors in the collision.

First, evidence indicates that Ruiz was handling his cell phone at the time of the collision.  While there is no indication Ruiz was actively texting or talking on his cell phone, it was apparent that his cell phone, which was located in the driver side door pocket with a nearly depleted battery, needed charging, and Ruiz was gripping the cell phone charger.

Second, there was fresh, partially eaten food on the driver’s floorboard indicating Ruiz was eating prior to the collision.

Third, the vehicle’s speedometer had locked at 90 miles per hour upon final impact.  Based on this finding, investigators believe the vehicle’s speed upon initial impact was in excess of 90 miles per hour.

The CHP’s intent in releasing this information is to make these contributing factors known to the public, with the hope of reducing future speed and distraction related collisions.  In light of these findings, the CHP reminds motorists that unsafe speed and distracted driving often result in traffic collisions.  As stated by, a driver is 3 times more likely to be involved in a traffic collision when reaching for a cell phone, dialing, or texting.

DUI as a factor in this collision remains under investigation pending a toxicology report from the Humboldt County Coroner’s Office.