Monday, 04 December 2023

Sacramento woman killed in crash on dangerous stretch of Highway 20

CLEARLAKE OAKS – A dangerous area of Highway 20 has become the site of another crash, this one deadly.

Mica Marks, 19, of Sacramento died Tuesday night when she lost control of her car on Highway 20 near Walker Ridge Road and east of Clearlake Oaks during a rainstorm.

Officer Steve Tanguay of the California Highway Patrol confirmed that the nearest mile post marker to the fatal crash was 44.19, the scene of six other crashes in the past two years, as Lake County News reported last month.

Tanguay said the crash that claimed Marks' life occurred at 4 p.m. Tuesday. At the time of the collision it was raining.

Marks was traveling eastbound on Highway 20 in a 2001 Honda Accord, according to Tanguay.

He said that, for an unknown reason, Marks lost control of her car and the vehicle went to the left, crossing over the double yellow lines into the westbound lane of traffic and spinning out of control on the wet roadway.

Marks' Honda struck a 1995 Chevrolet van driven westbound by 65-year-old Sue McGibben of Clearlake head on, said Tanguay.

Northshore Fire Battalion Chief Pat Brown said a Kelseyville Fire unit was passing through the area, returning from an out-of-county medical transfer, when it was nearly involved in the collision. As a result, Kelseyville Fire ended up being the first responder on scene to offer medical assistance.

Brown said another Northshore Fire battalion chief, Jamie Crabtree, was in charge of the incident. Crabtree oversaw three Northshore Fire rigs that responded. A Lake County Fire Protection medic unit also was sent to assist, as were Cal Fire units.

Tanguay said Marks was declared dead at the scene. A unit from Clearlake Oaks' Cal Fire station transported McGibben to St. Helena Hospital-Clearlake for moderate injuries.  

It took firefighters and officials two hours to deal with the crash scene, said Brown.

At least one of the previous six crashes at mile post marker 44.19 was fatal, and four required major rescue efforts because the road – which travels past the old Turkey Run and Abbott mines – drops off into a ravine, as Lake County News has reported.

A rope rescue wasn't needed this time, said Brown, as Marks' car didn't go off the road.

Brown expressed his concern over that stretch of roadway, which Caltrans said last month it was investigating due to the high number of serious crashes that have taken place there, all during rainstorms. Caltrans installed new signage there last November to encourage drivers to take the curve more slowly, with a speed advisory sign now showing 35 miles per hour rather than 40.

Most of the crashes so far have been attributed to speed, including one that took place there just weeks ago on March 16.

Tanguay said that crash was attributed to unsafe speed on the wet roadway, along with the driver making an “unsafe turning movement.”

Officer Brendan Bach is investigating the Tuesday collision, Tanguay said.

E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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