High Speed Chase Damage Brings Community Together


MCKINLEYVILLE – A high speed chase that damaged a victims property in McKinleyville turned out to have a happy ending.

Saturday afternoon Melinda Perris was at her home in McKinleyville when around 4 in the afternoon, wanted felon, Conte Watson sped down her road, followed by Humboldt County Sheriff Deputies, and headed straight for her home.

“I was in my house and all of a sudden I heard a big crash and then a second a crash, the first one was when he wiped out the mailbox, and then he kept on going and that’s when he got my house. Then he hopped out and hopped on the vehicle and over the fence, the sheriffs were right on him so when they bailed out of their cars and I pointed them around the back way and that’s where they captured him in the backyard,” says Perris, describing the event.

The damage to her home included broken siding, a broken fence, a torn up lawn, and worst of all, her broken basset hound mailbox.

“The mailbox was a gift from my late husband, we’ve been a basset family for a very long time and it is very special to me… and it was in pieces,” says Perris.

Knowing sentimental value of this special mailbox Deputy Stallworth put together some money and headed over to Ace Hardware to try and replace the mailbox. There the Floor Manager heard the story and gave the deputies a new mailbox at a very discounted price.

“It’s the least we can do; you know the community is always been here for ace hardware. The officers have been very helpful, they’re always on hand when we have a theft in the store and always very helpful so we like to do what we can for them anytime we can,” says Ace Hardware Floor Manager, Ted Jake.

The very next morning the mailbox returned to Perris, completely repainted and rebuilt with the original pieces from her husband’s mailbox.

“I was overwhelmed… and… just… yeah sometimes i just don’t have the words, it was very sweet and it was very appreciated and very heartfelt… thank you to both of them they went above and beyond anything needed to do,” says Perris, referring to Deputy Stallworth and Deputy Hwang who painted the mailbox.

Perris says this new mailbox not only has the memory of her late husband but now also contains the love and support of a community who helped bring this basset hound back to life.