Actor James Dean died, aged 24, on the early evening of September 30th, 1955, when his car crashed into another at the junction of California State Routes 41 and 46 (formerly US Route 466) in Cholame, California.
Dean was driving his Porsche 550 Spyder from Los Angeles to a road race in Salinas, with German mechanic Rolf Wütherich as a passenger. As they were traveling east on US 466, a Ford Tudor driven by Donald Turnupseed turned left onto Highway 41, across the path of the oncoming Porsche. Dean was unable to avoid a collision and suffered critical injuries, while Wütherich was thrown from the car but survived with serious injuries.
The intersection, locally called the Cholame Y because of its layout, has been realigned since the accident, and in 2005 was renamed the James Dean Memorial Junction to mark the 50th anniversary of his death. At the site of the old Cholame Post Office, 1 mile (or 1.6 kilometers) east on SR 46, there is a stainless steel memorial monument to Dean, surrounding a tree of heaven, which was erected in 1977 by Japanese fan, Seita Ohnishi.