Saturday, 27 May 2023


LAKE COUNTY – A Ukiah man was arrested after attempting to escape on his motorcycle from a Lake County Sheriff's sergeant.

Lt. Cecil Brown of the Lake County Sheriff's Office reported that 36-year-old Troy Allen Crabtree was arrested in the incident.

Brown reported that Sgt. Kip Ringen was driving a marked patrol car near the intersection of Highway 29 and Live Oak Drive in Kelseyville at about 3 p.m. Monday when he saw a black Suzuki GSXR 1000 motorcycle traveling north on Highway 29 on its rear wheel.

Ringen attempted to stop the motorcycle and contact the rider, later identified as Crabtree, Brown reported.

Instead of pulling over, Crabtree accelerated to more than 100 miles per hour, Brown reported. He passed four northbound vehicles over the double yellow line, and caused two southbound vehicles to pull off of the roadway to avoid a collision with the motorcycle.

Brown's report said Ringen pursued Crabtree on Highway 29, Merritt Road, Renfro Drive and Bell Hill Road, where he lost sight of the motorcycle.

As Ringen approached Hummell Lane, he saw a man pointing down Hummell Lane, according to Brown's report.

Ringen subsequently found the Suzuki on its side in a cloud of dust on the shoulder of Hummell Lane, with Crabtree running from the motorcycle, still wearing his helmet, Brown reported.

Brown reported that Ringen pursued Crabtree on foot, and as he began to overtake him he ordered Crabtree to stop.

At that point, Crabtree finally stopped and submitted to arrest, Brown reported.

Crabtree was booked into the Lake County Jail for evading a peace officer and reckless driving. He has since posted bail for $11,000 and was released.


KELSEYVILLE – The name of a Kelseyville man who died after a Friday head-on collision has been released.

California Highway Patrol Officer Adam Garcia reported that 48-year-old Robert Faulknor was the victim of the collision, which Lake County News first reported over the weekend.

Faulknor was driving westbound on Point Lakeview Road near Lower Lake Friday at about 7:30 p.m. when 18-year-old William Jeffrey Shephard of Kelseyville crossed the double-yellow lines in his Jeep, hitting Faulknor in his Toyota head on.

The CHP reported that Faulknor had veered to the right in an attempt to avoid the collision. He died at the scene, despite having worn his seat belt.

Shephard, who also wore a seat belt, sustained major injuries including a chest contusion and facial injuries. He was transported by REACH helicopter to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital for treatment.

Garcia said Shephard remains in the hospital due to the severity of his injuries.

As Lake County News previously reported, CHP determined Shephard was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

The crash was the Labor Day weekend's only fatality, according to Garcia.

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


MENDOCINO COUNTY – Mendocino County authorities have arrested two men for a series of burglaries around Mendocino and Lake counties.

A report from Captain Kurt Smallcomb of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office explained that deputies arrested Ben Brooks, 25, of Redwood Valley and Brent Harding, 32, of Ukiah on burglary charges for incidents that occurred between April and June.

Beginning in April, Smallcomb reported that a series of commercial burglaries began taking place in Mendocino County. Businesses hit included the Hopland Subway and the Superette, Lemons Market in Philo, storage sheds in Ukiah and the Buckhorn Bar in Covelo.

In Lake County, the Fast and Easy Market in Upper Lake also was burglarized, Smallcomb reported.

Items taken from the stories included cash, safes, an ATM machine, liquor and cigarettes, according to Smallcomb's report.

Mendocino County Sheriff's deputies, led by Deputy Derek Hendry, investigated all of the burglaries, said Smallcomb.

Those investigations, Smallcomb reported, led to Hendry's arrests of Brooks and Harding on Aug. 31.

Brooks already was in custody on unrelated charges and booked for burglary, said Smallcomb.

Harding, Smallcomb added, was booked into the Mendocino County Jail for the burglaries along with a

probation violation. Because of the probation violation, Harding remains in jail on a no-bail hold.

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


LAKE COUNTY – Labor Day weekend is usually a busy time for local law enforcement, and this year was no different.

California Highway Patrol Officer Adam Garcia said the combination of the Lake County Fair, concerts and the X.S. Weekend at Konocti Harbor Resort and Spa kept officers busy.

Statewide, CHP reported 36 people were killed in its jurisdiction while 13 died within California’s incorporated cities which are patrolled by local police. In 2006, a total of 46 people were killed on California roadways during the Labor Day weekend.

Of the 36 fatalities within the CHP's statewide jurisdiction this year, one was a pedestrian, three were motorcyclists and 32 were in passenger vehicles, the agency reported. Vehicle passengers were required by law to wear seat belts or child safety seats but 26 of the 32 did not.

In Lake County, the weekend had one fatality that resulted from a head-on collision which took place Friday night on Point Lakeview Drive, as Lake County News previously reported. The victim was 48-year-old Robert Faulknor of Kelseyville, Garcia reported Tuesday.

“Everything else was what you could expect for a holiday weekend,” said Garcia, who noted that there weren't any particular hot spots, but that activity was spread across the county.

Lakeport Police Chief Kevin Burke said it was a very mellow Labor Day weekend, with only a few fights reported the last night of the Lake County Fair, which didn't result in arrests.

Lake County Sheriff's Lt. Cecil Brown reported a few battery arrests and vehicle pursuits were the notable events that took place over the weekend. Brown said he expected to issue a report on Wednesday explaining the pursuits in more detail.

Clearlake Police Lt. Mike Hermann was out of the office Tuesday afternoon and could not be reached for comment on how the weekend went for that agency.

CHP usually has extra officers on for Labor Day, said Garcia. This year, they had 85 percent of their officers on duty, with two out-of-area officers coming to the county to assist.

An intersection safety grant from the Office of Traffic Safety helped fund the extra officer hours, said Garcia.

Just the extra officers alone accounted for 67 citations, 63 of which were for moving violations and four for open containers of alcohol, on Saturday and Sunday, Garcia reported.

In addition, the weekend yielded eight arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol, according to Garcia.

The numbers are still preliminary, but Garcia said so far he's counted a total of 199 CHP-issued citations for the weekend, which included everything from seat belt violations to the DUI arrests.

Statewide, during the Labor Day Weekend Maximum Enforcement Period (MEP) up to 80 percent of CHP’s officers were on the road looking for violators. They arrested 1,580 impaired drivers compared with 1,749 last Labor Day Weekend.

All told, there were 39 arrests over the weekend for charges ranging from DUI to bench warrants, according to the Lake County Sheriff's logs.

There were four arrests in Lakeport, 10 for the Lake County Sheriff's Office, 14 for Clearlake Police, 10 for CHP and one for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

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


MENDOCINO NATIONAL FOREST – Work continues on the 270-acre Yolla Bolly Complex located 20 air miles northeast of Covelo.

There are three remaining uncontrolled fires in the complex: Butte (40 acres), Sugarloaf (95 acres) and Lazy (170 acres), according to a report from forest spokesperson Punky Moore.

Moore said the Lazy Fire is established in an area of the Yolla Bolly Wilderness on the Shasta Trinity National Forest with limited access, rugged terrain and extremely steep ridges that are contributing to constant rolling material and uphill runs. Fire activity has increased significantly on the east, south and west flanks.

About 100 personnel are working on the Lazy Fire with two helicopters dropping water on hot spots, delivering supplies and transporting crews, Moore said. Due to the complex nature involved in containing this fire, it has been elevated to a Type 2 incident and Kent Swartzlander’s NorCal Type 2 Incident Management will assume command of this incident Monday evening.

Meanwhile, firefighters continue the process of controlling the other fires in the complex, according to Moore. Some of the most difficult work remains: reinforcing existing line, suppressing smoldering debris and patrolling burned areas to ensure no fire is lingering that may flare up again. More than 100 personnel are working to contain the Yolla Bolly Complex.

Deer rifle season begins in B-Zone in the Yolla Bolly Wilderness on Sept. 15, Moore reported. Hunters are encouraged to call ahead to one of our offices to check on current conditions in case areas are still affected by fire activity. A temporary flight restriction is in place for a 10-mile radius around the fire area.


MENDOCINO NATIONAL FOREST – The latest forest fire news from Mendocino National Forest officials is that firefighters are getting a hold on a series of fires northeast of Covelo.

Forest spokesperson Punky Moore reported Sunday that after days of battling the many fires in the main Yolla Bolly Complex, firefighters have contained all but one, the Lazy Fire.

The complex is located 20 air miles northeast of Covelo. It has grown to 190 acres and is 50 percent contained, Moore reported.

Over the weekend, the 40-acre Lazy Fire picked up momentum and posed significant problems for firefighters because of rolling burning debris and very steep terrain, according to Moore's report. Air tankers and additional firefighters were ordered to help prevent this fire from getting established in areas that are extremely difficult to manage. Fire activity has been decreasing as evening approaches.

It was determined Saturday that the Lazy Fire is located on the Shasta Trinity National Forest and not the Mendocino National Forest as initially reported, Moore noted. Both forests decided to continue to manage this fire within the Yolla Bolly Complex.

The contained fires (Butte, Hammerhorn, French, Fern, Stockton, Sugarloaf, Rock, Long and Spring) range in size from one acre to 95 acres, according to Moore. Even though these fires are contained, some of the most difficult work remains: reinforcing existing line, suppressing smoldering debris and patrolling burned areas to ensure no fire is lingering that may flare up again.

More than 250 personnel are working to contain the Yolla Bolly Complex, Moore said. In addition, three helicopters are assisting firefighters dropping water on areas of fire that have potential to grow and are difficult to reach, transporting personnel and delivering supplies.

Deer rifle season begins in B-Zone in the Yolla Bolly Wilderness on Sept. 15, Moore reported. Hunters are encouraged to call ahead to one of our offices to check on current conditions in case areas are still affected by fire activity. A temporary flight restriction is in place for a 10-mile radius around the fire area.


KELSEYVILLE – Besides keeping an eye on the extra holiday activities, a local California Highway Patrol officers found himself chasing down a man suspected of stealing a car on Saturday.

CHP Officer Adam Garcia reported Tuesday that at 10:22 p.m. Saturday CHP Officer Robert Hearn spotted 31-year-old Clearlake resident Erik Wayne Sutch's 1992 Saturn crossing the double-yellow lines on Point Lakeview Drive near Fairway Drive in the Clear Lake Riviera.

Hearn attempted a traffic stop of Sutch, Garcia reported, but rather than pull over, Sutch took off, driving recklessly into Lower Lake.

Sutch was unable to negotiate a left turn onto Mill Street from Main Street and ended up hitting a utility pole, said Garcia.

After hitting the pole, Sutch attempted to flee on foot, said Garcia, but was taken into custody a short time later.

Why he attempted to run may be explained by the CHP's discovery the following day that the vehicle had been stolen from Kelseyville shortly before the chase occurred, according to Garcia.

Sutch, whose occupation is listed as mechanic on his booking sheet, faces charges, including felony vehicle theft, possession of narcotic controlled substances, evading a peace officer and bringing a controlled substance into a jail, and misdemeanors including driving without a license, driving under the influence of alcohol, obstructing a peace officer, and hit and run with property damage.

Sutch has since posted bail and been released from the Lake County Jail.

Garcia said it's important for the public to remember to lock vehicles and secure keys in a safe place to deter theft.

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


The message should be clear to anyone ... STOP! Photo by Harold LaBonte.


LAKE COUNTY Attention motorists: Be on the lookout for several very large, bright yellow vehicles once again crisscrossing our city streets and country roads starting this week.

On Tuesday, all of Lake County's schools will be open for business and dozens of school buses will be back to work.

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The buses will roll out of bus barns early in the morning from every school district and for the next 180 school days the drivers, transportation managers and the California Highway Patrol want to remind motorists of the hazards as well as the consequences of failing to abide by the laws regarding school bus safety.


The most common traffic violation relating to school buses is the failure to stop for a school bus while it is stopped for loading or unloading passengers, according to CHP Officer Mike Humble, who oversees the local CHP school bus driver program.

In order to put greater focus on traffic laws relating to school bus safety, Humble said new regulations have been implemented for both school bus drivers and the general driving public.

In the past, bus operators were required to begin flashing the red lights on the bus only when the bus was not in motion, said David Norris, director of transportation for Lakeport Unified School District.

These days state law requires each driver to activate a set of amber lights at least 200 feet from the next intended bus stop, thereby warning motorists of the bus's intention to stop, Norris added.

Once stopped, and before the doors open, the flashing red lights will indicate that all vehicles traveling in all directions must come to a full and complete stop, Norris explained.


Failure to stop puts the children as well as the bus driver in danger of injury, said Humble.

Though the numbers vary by district, roughly 35 percent of the county's students and their parents rely on these buses to get to and from school safely, according to information provided by local school districts.

The drivers are well trained and continually tested, said Humble.

The buses are likewise inspected frequently and must be maintained to very high standards, with safety equipments updated regularly, according to Norris. At a district level, he added, buses also go through annual safety checks.

That leaves the average motorist the one uncontrollable variable in the school bus safety equation. As a result CHP and county transportation officials ask that motorists familiarize themselves with bus stop locations whenever possible.

Officials indicate the while the problem occurs throughout the county the most active locations for bus stop violations occur in areas such as downtown Lakeport, where the roadway offers a middle two-way turn lane. Many drivers believe this allows them an opportunity to pass the bus safely.

Drivers also should be on the lookout for students approaching the bus stops as well as those actually loading and unloading, said Humble.

Other factors that every driver should consider are tailgating, stopping short and trying to beat the flashing lights by accelerating around a bus before it comes to a full stop, said Humble.

Whether you're traveling on busy Highway 20 or in the hills of Nice, downtown Lakeport or the main drag of Middletown, patience and awareness of your surroundings is paramount, said Humble.

The penalties for failing to stop can be steep. If convicted of violating section 22454 of the California Vehicle Code, a motorist can count on a fine of $150 for the first offense. A second offense will bring a fine of between $500 and $1000. Further violations can result in a suspension of driving privileges for one year.


It's the average motorist's responsibility to adhere to regulations and the common sense rules of the road. Bus-related injuries are rare in Lake County, thanks to the diligent work of all the transportation professionals responsible for so many lives.



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


A Cal Fire helicopter prepares to land at the Aug. 25 Spring Valley emergency preparedness event. Photo by Jim Hershey.

SPRING VALLEY The county’s first “Islands of Humanity Emergency Preparedness Day,” held Aug. 25, was a success as Spring Valley residents turned out to be educated and entertained by county, state and national agencies.

The event, the first in the series for isolated communities around the lake, drew almost 100 families who actively participated in the process that focused on this community’s emergency issues.

Moderated by District 3 Supervisor Denise Rushing, a panel consisting of 10 agency representatives answered questions posed by the residents throughout a 90-minute meeting.

During and after the meeting, the residents took advantage of a rare opportunity to enjoy up close and personal contact with the equipment and personnel of the agencies present.

Children and adults alike enjoyed new experiences like sitting in a Cal Fire helicopter and taking a short but exciting fire engine ride.

Tours of the county’s Mobile Emergency Operations Center and Northshore Fire Protection District’s ambulance and engines allowed residents a close-up view of the services that exist to protect them.

Sponsored by the Lake County Office of Emergency Services (OES) and Supervisor Rushing, the supporting agencies included Cal Fire, U.S. Forest Service, Northshore Fire Protection, the county Department of Health Services, American Red Cross, Special Districts, the state Department of Fish and Game, Lake County Sheriff’s Department, California Highway Patrol and Animal Care and Control.

Yolo County Flood Control also participated due to the close relationship between it and the residents of Spring Valley.

Focused on the local community and the hazards that may affect it, emergency preparedness events provide an opportunity for residents to hear answers provided by experts.

From the agencies' point of view, the events provide them with an opportunity to prepare residents for future emergencies and to make sure that the public has a clear path to preparedness. The agencies also made it clear they welcome the opportunity to attract volunteers to help serve the community.

In planning for November, the next emergency preparedness event will take place in the community of Hidden Valley Lake.




Officials from emergency response agencies throughout the county attended the meeting to talk about safety to Spring Valley residents. Pictured, right to left, are Loren Freeman, Department of Fish and Game; Pam Plank, American Red Cross; Tim O

CLEARLAKE – An accident that took place late Monday night sent three people to the hospital and resulted in an arrest for driving under the influence.

California Highway Patrol Officer Adam Garcia said the accident occurred at about 8:30 p.m. Monday.

Joseph Edward Lawson, 43, of Clearlake was driving a 1989 GMC Blazer on a dirt road east of Davis Street near the Lake County Landfill when the accident occurred, Garcia reported.

Lawson was traveling on a downgrade and drove over the road edge, rolling down a steep embankment before coming to rest approximately 150 feet from the road, according to Garcia.

Riding with Lawson were 38-year-old Shawn Hammond and Patrick Robinson, 34, both of Clearlake, said Garcia.

The three men were able to climb out of the wrecked Blazer before emergency personnel arrived, Garcia added.

While Lawson was flown by REACH air ambulance to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital with injuries that later turned out to be minor, Garcia said Hammond and Patrick were transported to Redbud Hospital with moderate injuries.

Lawson later was released from Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, where CHP officer picked him up and arrested him on suspicion of driving under the influence.

CHP transported Lawson, who works as a painter according to his booking sheet, to the Lake County Jail where he was booked for felony DUI.

He remained in jail Tuesday on $10,000 bail.

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


LOWER LAKE – A Friday evening crash killed one driver and seriously injured another.

The California Highway Patrol reported that the collision took place at 7:30 p.m. on Point Lakeview Road east of Highway 29.

William Jeffrey Shephard, 18, of Kelseyville was driving his 1991 Jeep eastbound on Point Lakeview Road at an undetermined speed, according to the report. Coming from the opposite direction was a 1986 Toyota driven by a 48-year-old Kelseyville man whose identity has not yet been released.

The CHP reported that, for an unknown reason, Shephard turned his Jeep to the left and crossed the double yellow lines into the oncoming, westbound lane of Point Lakeview.

The other driver turned to the right in an attempt to avoid being struck by Shephard, but couldn't avoid the resulting head-on collision, the CHP reported.

Despite the fact that he was wearing his seat belt, the second driver died as a result of the injuries he sustained in the collision, according to the CHP.

Shephard, who also was wearing his seat belt, sustained severe injuries, including facial fractures and a chest contusion, the CHP reported. He was transported to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital via REACH helicopter.

The CHP reported that it was determined that Shephard was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

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


SACRAMENTO – Saying boats and boating recreation are at risk, several state agencies have put out a call asking boaters and watercraft users to help stop the spread of quagga mussels throughout California.

The invasive quagga mussels and their cousin, the zebra mussel, also are on the radar of Lake County officials, who have sent lake samples to labs in Oregon and Colorado to test for the mussels' presence. So far, Clear Lake has tested negative for the mussels, but tests are ongoing, as Lake County News reported late last week.

Should quagga and zebra mussels make it into Clear Lake, they could travel through Cache Creek and into the Bay-Delta, which the state Department of Water Resources reports serves as a water source for 25 million Californians.

With recent quagga mussel finds along the Nevada-California border and then in Southern California, the state is particularly concerned about Riverside County’s Lake Skinner and San Diego County’s Lower Otay Reservoir, Lake Dixon, and San Vicente Reservoir, all of which permit recreational access.

"With quagga mussels on the move from the Nevada border to inland San Diego County, we need the public’s help to keep them from going farther," said Secretary for Resources Mike Chrisman. "Once the quagga are established in a waterway, they have significant environmental, recreational and economic impacts."

Although they range from microscopic to the size of a fingernail, the mussels are prolific breeders and attach themselves to hard and soft surfaces, such as boats and aquatic plants.

Quagga mussels affect boaters negatively because they:

  • Ruin your engine by blocking the cooling system – causing overheating.

  • Increase drag on the bottom of your boat, reducing speed and wasting fuel.

  • Jam steering equipment on boats.

  • Require scraping and repainting of boat bottoms.

  • Colonize all underwater substrates such as boat ramps, docks, lines and other underwater surfaces requiring constant cleaning.

Quagga mussel infestation can potentially lead to the closure of boating in affected waterways. They also wreak havoc with the environment, disrupting the natural food chain and releasing toxins that affect other species. Spread of the quagga could result in millions of dollars in damage to water transport facilities.

Various watercraft are the primary transporters of quagga mussels. All boaters and anyone who accesses freshwater aquatic environments should take the following steps to inhibit the spread of the quagga mussel:

  • Inspect all exposed surfaces - small mussels feel like sandpaper to the touch.

  • Wash the hull of each watercraft thoroughly; preferably with high pressure/hot water.

  • Remove all plants and animal material.

  • Drain all water and dry all areas.

  • Drain and dry the lower outboard unit.

  • Clean and dry all live-wells.

  • Empty and dry any buckets.

  • Dispose of all bait in the trash.

  • Wait five days and keep watercraft dry between launches into different fresh waters.

It is important for boaters to follow these steps and cooperate with vessel inspections that are being conducted at a number of Department of Food and Agriculture border inspection stations and around the state.

These invasive freshwater mollusks were first detected in California in January, in Lake Havasu on the Colorado River.

In subsequent months, they were found in two Southern California water systems using Colorado River water, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD) and the San Diego County Water Authority.

MWD documented the mussels in March and again in July in its 242-mile Colorado River aqueduct, and also at Lake Mathews near Riverside and at Lake Skinner in Winchester, east of Temecula. On Aug. 21, the mussels were discovered in San Diego County, at San Vicente Reservoir near Lakeside.

Thus far, the mussels have not been found in California's State Water Project (SWP), which draws its water from Northern California watersheds. Environmental scientists are monitoring the system, one of the largest water and power systems in the United States. The main risk of mussel introduction in the SWP is from trailered boats.

A multi-agency taskforce that includes the Department of Fish and Game, the Department of Boating and Waterways, the Department of Water Resources and California State Parks has launched an outreach campaign to alert boaters and the public to the quagga mussel threat.

This effort is also being coordinated with MWD and the San Diego County Water Authority.

For information on the Quagga mussel response, visit the DFG Web site at

A public toll-free number, 1-866-440-9530, has been established for boaters and anyone involved with activities on lakes and rivers seeking information on the invasive and destructive quagga mussels. The toll-free number is available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Upcoming Calendar

05.27.2023 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Lakeport Speedway Memorial Weekend Opener
05.28.2023 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Lower Lake Daze & Street Fair
05.28.2023 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Lakeport Speedway Memorial Weekend Opener
Memorial Day
05.31.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Konocti Unified walking school bus event
06.01.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
Middletown Art Center
06.03.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile

Mini Calendar



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