Second District Supervisor Roger Rodoni was killed Thursday afternoon in a vehicle collision just north of Rio Dell.
According to witnesses at the scene, Roger was driving north on Highway 101, on his way to a fundraiser at the Veterans Hall in Fortuna, when a southbound vehicle crossed over the center divider and struck Roger’s truck head-on.
The Times-Standard identified the wrong-way driver as 58-year-old Miranda resident Diane Johnson, who sustained minor injuries in the crash.
Roger was traveling alone, but his wife, Johanna, was following him in a second vehicle and is believed to have witnessed the accident. She was reportedly talking to him by cell phone when the collision occurred.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Roger’s body was taken to Eureka, with Johanna following in a Sheriff’s Office vehicle.
Within hours of the accident, Second District challengers Estelle Fennell and Clif Clendenen both announced a temporary suspension of campaign activities.
In a note posted on her website, Estelle called Roger’s death “a great tragedy for us all.”
Updates: The Eureka Reporter added late Friday morning that Johanna was not following Roger but was actually driving the other direction to their home so she could change clothes before the fundraiser in Fortuna.
Humboldt County Coroner Frank Jager said Roger died from blunt-force head injuries sustained when his truck overturned and ran off an embankment on the east side of the highway.
Another witness to the accident told the Humboldt Mirror that Roger’s truck was struck from the side, not the front, causing it to flip and roll off the highway.
Congressman Mike Thompson headed up what will undoubtedly be a long line of elected officials to weigh in on Roger’s importance to the county. His brief statement is posted here.
Filed under: Humboldt County