Wednesday, 28 February 2024

More details offered in fatal crash

MIDDLETOWN – New details from eyewitnesses are filling in the picture of what led to a double fatality in a Saturday morning crash near Hidden Valley Lake.


The crash, which involved two vehicles, occurred shortly before 10:30 a.m. on Highway 29 at Spruce Grove Road Extension, as Lake County News has reported. The roadway wasn't fully reopened until nearly two hours later.


Jon Johnson, 52, was driving toward Middletown on Highway 29 shortly before 10:30 a.m. Saturday in a 2001 Dodge Durango, according to his son, Jason Johnson.


Witnesses said Jon Johnson was driving at the 55 mile per hour speed limit when, a short ways from Spruce Grove Road Extension, a Lincoln sedan pulled out into his path. Johnson swerved but wasn't able to miss the sedan, which it hit squarely on the driver's side.


An off-duty firefighter reported the first fatality, according to reports at the scene, within minutes of the collision.


That victim, the sedan's driver, was identified as Eugene Klebe, 80, of Hidden Valley Lake to Johnson's family, according to Jason Johnson. Other community members also have identified Klebe as one of the fatalities.


Klebe died at the scene, according to witnesses. Rescue personnel spent a long time at the scene attempting to resuscitate an elderly female passenger in Klebe's car, who died a short time later.


Jason Johnson said his father had to climb out the back of his Durango because the doors were locked. Jon Johnson went to the hospital as a precaution where he was x-rayed, and is otherwise OK, his son said.


Specifics about the crash investigation haven't been released to the public by the CHP.


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

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