Suspected DUI crash, fuel spill near Laytonville closes Highway 101 for hours

An alleged drunk driver crashed into a semi-trailer truck Monday morning on Highway 101 north of Laytonville, stopping traffic on the road in both directions for two-and-a-half hours, authorities said.

Gerald Stillwell, 58, of Garberville, drove his Ford pickup across the center line of the highway at 11:05 a.m. and collided head-on into the northbound truck, driven by Gary Fischer, 63, of Fair Oaks, the CHP said. Fischer was taken to Howard Memorial Hospital with major injuries; Stillwell was unharmed.

The truck’s saddle-mounted fuel tanks were damaged in the crash, leaking 75 gallons of diesel gas onto the road, the California Highway Patrol said.

The highway remained closed as crews cleaned up the spill. During the investigation, officers found that Stillwell had been drinking prior to the collision and arrested him on a complaint of driving under the influence of alcohol, the CHP said.

Bill Swindell

Business, Beer and Wine, The Press Democrat  

In the North Coast, we are surrounded by hundreds of wineries along with some of the best breweries, cidermakers and distillers. These industries produce an abundance of drinks as well as good stories – and those are what I’m interested in writing. I also keep my eye on our growing cannabis industry and other agricultural crops, which have provided the backbone for our food-and-wine culture for generations.

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