MENDOCINO COUNTY (CBS13) – A deadly crash on Highway 20 took the life of a local Boy Scout leader instantly in front of his troop while on the way to camp.
“He came over to our lane and we didn’t have much time to react,” said Eagle Scout Anthony Marlatte, who was traveling with the troop.
Eighteen-year-old Marlatte has been in the scouts ever since he was 5, but nothing prepared him for the deadly crash that took the life of his leader.
UPDATE: Scout leader Killed in Highway 20 crash identified.
“Worst place to be at the worse time,” he said.
The CHP says more than two dozen scouts and adults from Troop 13, all from foothills towns ranging from Newcastle to Loomis, were traveling on Highway 20 just west of Potter Valley Sunday morning. They were on their way to Wente Scout Reservation near Willits.
Marlatte says he was in the front passenger seat of a minivan with his scout leader driving.
“We had six people in our car. [Leader] and myself up front, the Boy Scouts in the back,” said Marlatte.
That’s when a car going the opposite direction lost control and slammed into their van, killing their troop leader almost instantly and injuring four other scouts, including Marlatte, who suffered a broken arm. Despite their injuries, the scouts took immediate action.
“The guys in the back were kind of helping out the guys in the middle because they got the worst of the force,” said Marlatte.
Four Scouts, one as young as 12, were taken to area hospitals. One of the boys was in critical condition.
“I myself am doing well and I suspect that the rest of the troops are doing the best they can,” said Marlatte.
The Boys Scouts’ motto is “be prepared,” but how do young Scouts prepare to deal with such a tragic situation?
“I was taught we can train to ready for anything, but when it comes right down to it, you can be prepared as you can be, but you can’t always handle the situation you were given,” said Marlatte.
The crash is still under investigation.
The leader’s name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.
Marlatte says despite today’s tragedy, 19 scouts and eight adults are honoring their dead leader and the injured Scouts by continuing on to the campsite.