James Dean Memorial Junction

James Dean's fatal auto accident

State Route 46 at State Route 41
Cholame, California
United States

On This Very Spot on September 30, 1955, James Dean was traveling west on Route 46 on his way to race his Porsche at the Salinas, California airport. Donald Turnupseed, a student at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, was traveling in the opposite direction in his white 1950 Ford Custom Tudor coupe. Turnupseed crossed the center line to go northeast on Route 41, apparently failing to see Dean's grey car in the gathering dusk. At 5:45 p.m., the two cars collided nearly head-on, and Dean was killed instantly. Dean had received a speeding ticket around Bakersfield, but whether he was speeding at the time of the accident is uncertain. No charges were filed against Turnupseed. Just days before, Dean had taped a television public service announcement on safe driving.

On This Very Spot on September 30, 2005, 50 years to the day after Dean's death, a formal dedication of the James Dean Memorial Junction and the unveiling of the official sign (top photo) took place.

Visit This Very Spot
For more information on this very spot, including photos and a detailed account of Dean's last day, visit fan website

Condition: This spot looks much as it did at the time of Dean's death.

Public Access: This spot is outdoors and is open to the public 24/7/365.

Parking: Free roadside parking is available at this spot.

Location: Northeast of Bakersfield, California.

Nearest Major Airport: LAX

Average Spot Rating: Not rated

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James Dean Memorial Junction
Looking in the direction Dean was traveling on the highway on the left.
Photo copyright
Dean Departs on His Fateful Trip
James Dean gases up the Porsche he plans to race that evening. He would never make it to the track.