The death of a 5-year-old boy in a car accident on Highway 99 has prompted action in a small town.
Those who live near the accident scene in Los Molinos hope the death of little Gunner Langenderfer will catch the attention of drivers who treat their strip of Highway 99 like a speedway.
Langenderfer was killed Wednesday afternoon when a vehicle driven by his mother, Katie Ramsey, was rear-ended, sending her car into an oncoming big rig.
Waldo Buscall lives no more than 50 yards from where the accident happened and helped with rescue efforts. The speed limit near drops to 35 miles per hour as cars enter town. He said he often yells at passing cars to slow down.
“I do it everyday,” said Buscall. “I've done it three times this morning. Hey, slow down.”
In just the last week, there's been the fatal collision and two minor accidents in this same vicinity at Highway 99 and Los Molinos. CHP Officer Jeff Ross said impatience is the root of the problem.
“It's a commute road that [goes between] the communities of Los Molinos and Red Bluff,” said Ross. “So a lot of people drive here on the way to the work, sometimes in a hurry.”
A year ago as part of a major renovation, new sidewalks and lights were put up along Highway 99 in Los Molinos. The goal was to make it safer for night-time drivers, but accidents continue.
Shawna Chrasta of Los Molinos is a NASCAR fan, which is why the checkered flag adorns her house. But the mother of two says this portion of Highway 99 shouldn't be the Daytona Speedway. That's why she put up a handmade sign asking drivers to please slow down.
“Even if it slows down one person. You know, that is my main goal, to get awareness out there to people to slow down, to be aware, to be safe,” said Chrasta.
If drivers don’t notice the sign, they may notice but the makeshift memorial for Gunner Langenderfer, including a roadside cross.
Ramsey's stepfather Mark Garstang said Katie's medical condition is stable and seems to be improving. But the emotional trauma of dealing with the loss of her son will take a lifetime to heal.
He wants to thank the community of Los Lolinos for its prayers while they grieve their loss.
If you'd like to donate to Gunner's memorial fund visit the Cornerstone Bank in Red Bluff.