A 19-year-old motorist was fatally injured in a collision at a Cherry Valley intersection caused when another driver pulled in front of him, authorities said Thursday.
The victim, identified only as a Beaumont man, was killed just after 6 p.m. Wednesday at Brookside Avenue and Union Street, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Officer Matt Napier said that the young man was at the wheel of a Ford Mustang westbound on Brookside at an unknown speed when he approached Union.
A 39-year-old Beaumont man driving a Chevrolet Silverado pickup yielded at the stop sign on southbound Union, where there is no corresponding stop for east-west traffic on Brookside, Napier said.
“The driver of the Chevrolet began to accelerate through the intersection as the Ford approached,” he said. “The driver of the Ford observed the Chevrolet enter the intersection and veered to the left but was unable to avoid a collision. The front of the Chevrolet struck the right front of the Ford.”
The Mustang spun into a wooden utility pole, snapping it in two, and then came to rest in a dirt field just south of Brookside, according to Napier.
He said Riverside County Fire Department paramedics reached the scene within a few minutes and pronounced the young man dead at the scene.
The pickup driver, whose identity was not disclosed, was not hurt. However, his passenger, identified only as a 41-year-old Indio woman, complained of minor injuries and was taken to San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital in Banning for treatment.
“Not yielding to oncoming traffic would make the Chevy driver at fault,” Napier told City News Service. “But if the Ford driver was traveling at an excessive speed, he would give up some of his right of way. We are still investigating to determine how fast he was going.”
The pickup driver was questioned by officers but not arrested.
An autopsy was pending on the victim to ascertain whether he might have been under the influence, though there are no indications he was, Napier said.
The collapsed power pole caused a blackout in the immediate area, and SoCal Edison technicians made repairs that were completed overnight.