(2nd UPDATE: OPEN) (UPDATE: 299 CLOSED) Snow on Berry Summit Causes Multiple Wrecks on Highway 299; Chains Required

Andrew Goff / Yesterday @ 4:24 p.m. / Traffic

It’s messy out there

UPDATE, 5:40 p.m.: The latest from CHP:

SR299 is now open in both directions. Chains are required on all 2WD vehicles. Any 4WD vehicles must have chains or snow tires installed to pass thru the area.

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UPDATE, 5:08 p.m.: From CHP:

Please be advised SR299 is currently closed at Berry Summit in both directions due to several big rigs stuck in the area. Multiple CHP officers are on scene attempting to clear the roadway. 

Chains are required on all vehicles (2WD or 4WD) at this time.

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Snow! Oh no! Caltrans’ traffic cameras along Highway 299 confirm that it’s very wintery up on Berry Summit. Right on cue, LoCO’s CHP Watch is lit up with traffic collisions and hazards in the area. Drive safe, Humboldt. 

Caltrans road camera at Berry Summit

We should note that Caltrans is requiring chains on vehicles that are not 4-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. According to recent chatter on the scanner, CHP is considering closing 299 for 2-wheel drive vehicles. They have not yet done so. We’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, Caltrans recommends that motorists “carry snacks, blankets, water, warm jackets, and chains with you” should you be headed out that way. 



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CHIEF MILLS: Suspect in Last Night’s Shooting Expected to Survive; Investigators Unclear if He Fired on Officers

Hank Sims / Yesterday @ 3:36 p.m. / Crime

Photo: Andrew Goff.

PREVIOUSLY(UPDATING) SHOTS FIRED DOWNTOWN: One Person Down After Eureka Police Engage in Firefight on Fifth Street; Highway Closed

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At a press conference still underway at Eureka Police headquarters, Eureka Police Chief Andy Mills said that the person shot by police in downtown Eureka yesterday evening — Clayton Lee Lasinski, 26, is expected to survive.

It is unclear whether or not Lasinski actually fired on police officers during their foot pursuit yesterday, Mills said. He said that a fully loaded .45 semiautomatic was found where the suspect went to ground, with the hammer pulled back. Either he reloaded his weapon at some point during the chase, or else he never fired to begin with.

Four officers are on administrative leave while the investigation into the incident is underway.

Mills said that the confrontation began in the parking lot of the Best Western at the bend of Fourth/Fifth streets and Commercial. The California Highway Patrol had followed a vehicle containing Lasinski — who is believed to have grown up in Southern Humboldt, Mills said — into the parking lot. There were two women in the vehicle with him.

Lasinski ran from CHP officers and was briefly detained by employees of the motel. According to their statements, Lasinski told those employees that he was “strapped,” then continued on. The Eureka Police Department was called in for backup, and chased the suspect to Seventh Street and over a fence.

Sole Savers’ red Mazda briefly taken by the suspect

A few minutes later, officers received word that an automobile — the red Mazda pictued in front of the police station last night — was stolen from the Sole Savers dealership nearby. He abandoned the car in front of the police station, though, and continued on foot toward Fifth Street, with officers in pursuit.

Witness statements indicate that Lasinski leveled the weapon at officers during the chase, Mills said. Four officers — the four since placed on leave — fired at him, Mills said, and he eventually came to ground on the highway between A and B streets.

One of the women with Lasinski earlier later told investigators that he may have run because he believed that there was a warrant out for him in another state.

The Internet tells us that back in 2011 Lasinski received 36 months probation for felony marijuana charges after being arrested following a traffic stop on on Interstate 80 near Cambridge, Illinois. His mother, Jean Lasinski, had embarked with her son on the journey and faced similar consequences. 

This was the Eureka Police Department’s second officer-involved shooting in the last six years, Mills said.

“This is going to take time to do correctly and I want it done correctly,” Mills said. “We will look at the investigation and see where it goes, as we do with all investigations.”

Following this criminal investigation, which will be conducted by the county’s Critical Incident Response Team, the department will conduct an internal investigation, Mills said, to determine whether policies were followed and determine what, if anything, could or should have been done differently.

“I understand that every officer is personally responsible for every round discharged,” Mills said, promising to report back to the community on the department’s internal review of the incident.

Investigators have searched a room at the Best Western that Lasinski was “associated” with, Mills said. They haven’t been able to speak to the man himself yet.

News Channel 3 posted video of the press conference in its entirety to Facebook which you can watch below.

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ELSEWHERE: 



Parolee Leads Deputies on Samoa Peninsula Chase in Stolen Vehicle, Later Arrested in Possession of Brass Knucks, Burglary Tools

Andrew Goff / Yesterday @ 2:32 p.m. / Crime

Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office press release: 

On Monday, December 5, 2016 at approximately 5:10 p.m. a Humboldt County Deputy Sheriff observed a black Ford pickup truck stopped at the intersection of Simpson Rd and Lincoln Ave in Fairhaven. The deputy requested a records check on the vehicle, which returned stolen out of Eureka.  Deputies attempted to conduct a traffic stop but the vehicle sped up and failed to yield.  A pursuit ensued and was shortly terminated after the vehicle began driving recklessly and ran a stop sign at Highway 255 and New Navy Base Road without stopping.

John Forrest Mastel, Jr.

Deputies continued to search the Manila area for the stolen vehicle.  A short time later, the driver of the vehicle was located on Peninsula Drive and was identified as 42 year old parolee John Forrest Mastel, Jr. Mastel was found to be in possession of brass knuckles, and various small tools commonly used to commit burglaries. 

The stolen vehicle was located hidden in some nearby brush, and was later returned to the registered owner.

Mastel was taken to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where he was booked for theft of a vehicle, possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of burglary tools, carrying a dirk or dagger, possession of metal knuckles, violation of parole, and evading a peace officer with wanton disregard of safety.  His bail was set at $50,000.

Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.



Woman Performs WWE-style Beatdown on Her Boyfriend in Northern Mendo Bar

Andrew Goff / Yesterday @ 12:25 p.m. / Crime

Sabrina Duncan | MCSO

Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office press release: 

On 12-03-2016 at about 11:30 PM, Deputies from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to the Buckhorn Bar (76360 Highway 162 in Covelo, California) regarding a reported fight between a male and female inside of the business.

When the Deputies arrived they were advised both persons were gone and might be located at a residence in the 75000 block of Highway 162 in Covelo, California.

Deputies responded to the residence where they contacted both persons.

The Deputies learned the adult male had gone to the Buckhorn Bar when his girlfriend, Sabrina Duncan, came into the business while yelling at him.  The adult male and Duncan walked to the back of the bar at which time she started hitting him in the face several times with her fist.

The adult male placed his arms up to prevent Duncan from hitting him in the face.  Duncan then picked up a glass cup and threw it at the adult male.  When the glass cup missed the adult male, Duncan picked up a plastic chair and hit him with it several times.

The adult male again placed both and his arms in front of his face while Duncan hit him with the chair.

After hitting him several times, Duncan put down the chair and left the business on foot.

The adult male had minor injuries to his left hand and knuckle area and declined medical treatment.

Duncan was booked into the Mendocino County Jail on the listed charges and was to be held in lieu of $30,000.00 bail.



YOUR WEEK IN OCEAN: Sector Humboldt Bay Keeps You Alive in Times Like These

Delia Bense-Kang / Yesterday @ 8:37 a.m. / Ocean

Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay sure knows how to “shred the gnar” (as shown in last week’s post), but they’re not just out there for entertainment and thrills — they’re out there to keep us all safe. Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay serves the public from the Mendocino-Sonoma County line to the California-Oregon border. Alaskan storms, offshore rocks, fog, and cold water make this stretch of coast some of the most dangerous and rugged in California. The Command Center at Sector Humboldt Bay monitors for distress 24 hours a day, and facilitates boat and aircraft responses to maritime emergencies. Due to the rugged ocean conditions in the area, Sector Humboldt Bay also has a “surf school,” to teach how to operate 47-ft motor lifeboats in heavy surf (thus the recent shredding of the gnar).

Coast Guard Pilot Neil Romans was a recent guest on KHUM’s Coastal Currents, and he provided some insight into what the Coast Guard does and how folks can stay safe at the beach during the winter season.

Here are a few question and answer excerpts from the interview, or you can listen to the whole Coastal Currents podcast here.

Q: What are your daily operations when you are not conducting a rescue?

A: We are a highly trained crew. We are training to keep skills at high level of readiness. That’s mainly what our operational focus is between rescues. Training to go out on that dark and stormy night and have the skills to pull someone out of the water or render assistance. We have weather that we can train in. There’s a certain level it’s too risky, but we will still conduct rescues in. If it meets the contract the coast guard has laid out we will go train in that.

Q: Do you ever get scared?

A: It’s human to be scared. It’s going to happen, but what you fall back on and what gets you through the fear is your training.

Q: Rip currents: What are they, and what to do if you get caught in one?

A: A rip current or rip tide is a column of water moving from shore out to sea through the breakers. You can identify them by some sea foam or seaweed moving out to sea. If you get caught in one it will move you out to sea, but not forever. Relax, swim parallel to shore, and then let the waves push you back to shore.

Q: How can people stay safe near and on the ocean?

A:

1. Learn to swim. It seems elementary but its step one in being safe around the water. And always swim with a buddy.

2. Never turn your back on the water and always watch your children.

3. Avoid walking on jetties and near the water when waves are large. Even if conditions seem mellow, a large wave could sneak up at any time. When conditions are rough, admire from a distance.

“Coastal Currents,” with Coast Guard pilot Neil Romans

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Ocean Night is going black and white this December in the spirit of the holidays!

Join Surfrider Humboldt, Northcoast Environmental Center, and Humboldt Baykeeper for their Holiday Party and Year in Review at the 1st Annual Black & White Ocean Night. The event will take place Saturday December 10th from 6:30-10pm at the Arcata Theater Lounge, and is open to all ages.

This classy evening will feature live piano music by Katie McGourty, black & white surf films, extra-special gift raffles with awesome local goodies, games, and lots of holiday cheer. Come eat, drink, and be merry! And don’t forget to wear your most fabulous (or funny) black and white attire for this fancy(ish) affair.

For more information check out the Facebook event here.

Looking for the perfect present this season? A Surfrider membership is only $25 for a year! Renew or become a member at the event and receive 10 free raffle tickets!

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Delia Bense-Kang serves as the Northcoast Environmental Center’s Marine Protected Area Outreach Coordinator and chairs Surfrider Foundation’s Humboldt Chapter.



OBITUARY: Shirley Bardella, 1929-2016

LoCO Staff / Yesterday @ 6:53 a.m. / Obits

Shirley Bardella passed away December 4, 2016 in Eureka.

Born in 1929 in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, she was one of Pacific Bell’s first telephone operators. A prolific writer, Shirley published her novel “A Lonely Lady” in 1996. She was a member of many writer’s groups and started a Senior Center in Willcox, Arizona. Along with her love of writing, she shared a great love of travel and went on many adventures with her husband of 57 years, Don, to Australia, Mexico, Hawaii, San Diego and other destinations.

With all of these interests, her greatest love was her family. Her four children and her husband were the focus of her life. Shirley moved to the North Coast last year to be with her daughter, Kathy, and made many new friends along the way.

She is survived by her children, Don Bardella of Glendale, Arizona, Mary Bardella and Judy Bailey of Willcox, Arizona, Kathleen Essa of Bayside and her husband Emran. She is also survived by her three special grandchildren, Tara Bardella, Joseph Bailey and Nabil Essa. She was preceded in death by her husband, Don, in 2008.

Shirley was the center of her family and can not be replaced. We are comforted to know she will now be reunited with the love of her life, the man she spotted on a dance floor and married six months later and who she called the “handsomest man she had ever seen.”

A rosary is scheduled for Friday, December 9 at 7 pm at St. Bernard’s Church in Eureka with a memorial mass on Saturday, December 10 at 11 am at St. Bernard’s Church with reception to follow. All who knew and loved Shirley are welcome to attend.

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The obituary above was submitted by Shirley Bardella’s familyThe Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here. Email news@lostcoastoutpost.com.



(UPDATING) SHOTS FIRED DOWNTOWN: One Person Down After Eureka Police Engage in Firefight on Fifth Street; Highway Closed

Hank Sims / Tuesday, Dec. 6 @ 5:07 p.m. / Crime

Photos: Andrew Goff.

UPDATE, 7:50 p.m.Chief Andy Mills held a press conference moments ago. He describes the events that led up to the shooting, and told reporters that the victim is undergoing surgery. They don’t have any current word on his condition.

The incident began when the Eureka Police Department received a call from a CHP officer asking for assistance with a subject who had taken “footbail” from a traffic stop. This was at about 4:45 p.m. Witnesses pointed out the direction the man had run, telling officers that he had a gun.

A foot pursuit ensued, “over fences” and through yards. Officers confirmed that he had a gun. A some point soon after, they received calls to the effect that the man was attempting to steal another car — the red Mazda, below — at gunpoint. He failed to get it. The foot pursuit continued. Gunfire was exchanged. 

No officers or civilians were injured.

They’re still at the scene, still actively investigating. Watch video of Mills’ brief press conference below and video of officers approaching the suspect below that. More updates to follow.


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UPDATE, 6:08 p.m.: Capt. Steve Watson of the Eureka Police Department tells the Outpost that as far as he knows, no officers suffered any sort of injury this evening.

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UPDATE, 5:51 p.m.: More reports are coming in from people who witnessed some part of this, and many of them are saying that there were more shots fired than the “five or ten” we mention some eyewitnesses hearing below. 

Says one person:

We were 2 blocks down when it happened, we had cop cars coming at us from the wrong direction on one ways. By the time we got to the stop sign I looked over and all the cops were stopped and right when I rolled down my window about 20-25 gunshots started. And by the time we got to like California and cedar I was still hearing single gunshots.

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UPDATE, 5:45 p.m.: A recording of scanner traffic indicates that this started at about 4:50 p.m., near the back of Roy’s Auto Center (on Sixth). There was a foot chase that followed — at times, officers indicate that the suspect was headed up toward Seventh Street, then to the back lot of the police station at Sixth and B (where shots were fired), and finally toward Fifth Street.

The full 4 p.m.-5 p.m. hour of scanner audio is below. Fast foward to about 47 minutes in to hear what becomes a very tense, dramatic recording, as officers report shots fired and continue the chase.

4 p.m. - 5 p.m.

The report of “one detained” comes in at 4:57, along with a request for medical personnel to move up. The whole thing took less than 10 minutes.

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UPDATE, 5:26 p.m.: Brittany Powell, spokesperson for the EPD, just spoke with the Outpost’s Andrew Goff, at the scene. But Powell could only say, at this point, that this is an “active investigation.”

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UPDATE, 5:15 p.m.: Witnesses say they heard between five and ten shots fired. At least some of those shots, judging from scanner traffic, were fired at the police station itself, which is just a few blocks away at the corner of Sixth and C.

Sixth Street is also closed between A and C, says the Outpost’s Andrew Goff, who is at the scene. There’s a red car parked in the middle of the road there with its hazards on.

A few moments ago, a Eureka Police Department commander ask dispatchers to put out the word for basically any and all available law enforcement officers in the county.

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One person was downed in the street and taken away in an ambulance after a brief, intense firefight with the Eureka Police Department on the streets of downtown Eureka, near intersection of Fifth and B streets, moments ago.

Fifth Street is currently closed. The Eureka Police Department is calling in all available personnel, and asking for assistance from the Sheriff’s Office, Arcata Police and basically whoever else can send personnel. This is going to be a long night.

We will update when we know more.