Wednesday, 21 February 2024

CHP details fatal Saturday crash

HIDDEN VALLEY LAKE – The California Highway Patrol on Monday released details about the fatal Saturday crash that claimed the life of a Hidden Valley Lake couple.


Eugene Klebe, 80, and his wife, Pauline, 73, of Hidden Valley Lake died at the scene of the collision, which occurred on Highway 29 at Spruce Grove Road Extension, across from the Hidden Valley Lake main gate, according to CHP Officer Steve Tanguay.


At 10:20 a.m. Saturday the Klebes were sitting in their 2008 Lincoln MKZ sedan at the stop sign on Spruce Grove Road Extension across from the main gate, said Tanguay.


Tanguay said Eugene Klebe then pulled out into the path of a 2001 Dodge Durango driven by Jon Johnson, 52, of Hidden Valley Lake, who was heading southbound on Highway 29.


Johnson was unable to avoid the collision, Tanguay said, and his Durango collided with the Lincoln's left side.


Tanguay said the Klebes' Lincoln came to rest blocking the northbound lane of traffic and the Dodge came to rest blocking the southbound lane of traffic.


The Klebes both sustained fatal injuries, said Tanguay.


Johnson was transported to St. Helena Hospital-Clearlake where he was treated and released for minor injuries. His son, Jason Johnson, reported over the weekend that his father was doing all right.


Tanguay said traffic was diverted around the crash and onto Spruce Grove Road Extension. Reports from the scene indicated that the roadway wasn't fully reopened for two hours.


This collision is still under investigation by Officer Steve Curtis, Tanguay said.


He added that alcohol and drugs are not considered to be factors in this collision.


The Klebes' death was greeted with sadness by community members and neighbors, who left messages on Lake County News over the weekend as well as sending in e-mails.


Michelle Forney, who had been the Klebes' neighbor on Spyglass in Hidden Valley Lake at one time, called the news “devastating.”


She said the couple had gotten together in recent years after his previous wife died in 2003.


Eugene Klebe was a smiling, joking, charismatic man, who walked around the neighborhood and talked to people, and liked to frequent all the yard sales on Saturdays with his wife – not to buy anything but just to visit, Forney said. He'd also enjoyed taking trips in his RV.


Forney said she had just seen Eugene Klebe the Saturday before the fatal crash.


“They were both adorable. It's so sad,” she said.


Forney added that she also knows the Johnsons, who she also described as wonderful people.


“My heart just was broken,” she 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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