Jeep goes off embankment near overlook
The Crescent City woman who died when her vehicle careened off the cliff at Enderts Beach Overlook has been identified as 52-year-old Laura Green by the Del Norte County Coroner’s Office.
A Search and Rescue dive team member checks out the scene where a Jeep Cherokee came to rest after a 250-foot plunge near Enderts Beach Overlook. Del Norte Triplicate/Bryant Anderson
Green was driving a 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee that barrelled through a wooden guard rail and off the 250-foot embankment at the overlook sometime from 9:30 p.m. Monday (when she last spoke with family members) to 10:26 a.m. Tuesday.
A tourist passing through the area called 911 to report a body lying on the beach Tuesday morning. Del Norte County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Team members rappelled down the cliffs to check her health, and found she had already died, according to sheriff’s Commander Tim Athey.
Members of the Search and Rescue dive team did not find any other people after inspecting the vehicle rolling around upside down in about 7 feet of water, Athey said.
The Jeep apparently carved a path through the steep vegetation below the mangled guard rail before plummeting over a sheer cliff into the water.
The Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office has listed the cause of death as “pending” until the completion of an autopsy and toxicology assessment scheduled for Friday morning, Athey said.
The California Highway Patrol is investigating what caused the vehicle to leave the road.
“We can’t make the assumption that it is suicide,” said California Highway Patrol Officer Brandy Gonzalez, adding that the case is still under investigation.
On Tuesday afternoon, hundreds of feet above the beach, rescue respondents felt a mist from a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter that landed on the sand directly south of the overlook. The helicopter was used to pick up the divers and hundreds of pounds of diving gear and drop them off at the parking lot area at Crescent City Beach.
A tow truck winch was used to haul the flattened Jeep out of the water and up the hill to the overlook parking lot. The vehicle was too damaged to be pulled on its wheels, instead being dragged most of the way on its roof. The operation took most of the day, wrapping up around 5 p.m., Athey said.
The Del Norte County Sheriff’s Office, Redwood National and State Park Service, Crescent Fire Protection District, Crescent City Volunteer Fire Department, and Cal-Fire all responded.