A Highway Patrol officer who was on duty was killed Tuesday afternoon in a head-on crash in northern Mendocino County.

Officer Thomas Adams, 24, of Fortuna, had been on the force for about two years. He died in the 2:20 p.m. crash near the Humboldt County line, CHP Officer Paul Dahlen said.

A team from the CHP's Multi-Disciplinary Accident Investigation Team was called in from Redding to investigate.

Adams, a Fortuna native, was traveling north on Highway 101 in a patrol vehicle just south of Piercy near Garberville, Dahlen said.

Jeff Kidd, 39, who lives in Perris south of Riverside, was driving south on the highway in a 2004 Toyota Tundra, Dahlen said. Jared P. Geldhofbond, 31, of Riverside was in the passenger seat.

The two vehicles collided about 14 miles north of Leggett and 13 miles south of Garberville, according to Caltrans spokesman Phil Frisbie.

CHP officials said one of the vehicles appeared to have crossed into an oncoming traffic lane, however investigators were still determining which one, Dahlen said.

Adams "was pronounced deceased at the scene," Dahlen said.

Perris and Geldhofbond were taken to Jerold Phelps Community Hospital in Garberville and later released, according to hospital staff.

The highway was closed in both directions as the investigation continued and was expected to remain closed well into the night, Dahlen said. Traffic was being detoured onto nearby Highway 271, the old north-south route.

Dahlen said he was among the CHP officials who recruited Adams to the force. Adams graduated from the highway patrol's academy about two years ago and began his career in Oakland, Dahlen said. He transferred to the Garberville station last September.

"He worked his way from Oakland to here to get back home," Dahlen said.