Two killed in head-on Mendocino County crash

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A 41-year-old woman and a teen were killed in a fiery head-on crash Saturday that shut down Highway 101 north of Willits for more than two hours, Mendocino County CHP officials said.

The woman was from Dos Rios, a small community northeast of Laytonville, and the 13-year-old girl was from Willits, CHP Sgt. James Beard said. Their names were not released pending notification of next of kin.

The two were northbound in a 2008 Dodge Ram 1500 that crossed into oncoming traffic about 1:40 p.m. near Reynolds Highway, according to a CHP report. The driver “lost control of her vehicle” for reasons still under investigation, Beard said.

The Dodge pickup crashed into a southbound tractor-trailer. The 1997 Peterbilt Tractor, driven by Robert Maffia, 76, of Ukiah, was hauling lumber, according to the CHP.

“Mr. Maffia took evasive actions,” Beard said. “However, despite his efforts, the Peterbilt collided with the driver’s side of the Dodge.”

The Dodge spun out of the roadway and burst into flames on the western shoulder of the roadway. The tractor spilled the lumber, blocking the narrow, two-lane highway.

The woman and teen were declared dead at the scene. Maffia was treated for minor injuries, the CHP said.

You can reach Staff Writer Julie Johnson at 707-521-5220 or On Twitter @jjpressdem.

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