Traffic collisions in the Idyllwild area claimed two lives in separate incidents on Friday, Oct. 21, according to California Highway Patrol (CHP) Public Information Officer Darren Meyer.
The first occurred at 6:05 p.m., when 78-year-old Indio resident Jackie McDonald lost control of his 2010 Toyota coupe while traveling east on Highway 74, east of the Highway 371 turnoff. McDonald apparently allowed his car to drift onto the right shoulder and collided head-on with a large tree. McDonald was not wearing a seatbelt and was pronounced dead at the scene by CAL FIRE paramedics. There were no passengers in the vehicle. The CHP has not ruled out alcohol or drugs as a contributing factor in the accident.
Later that night, at approximately 10:45 p.m., Sean Bahash, 43, an off-duty Riverside County Sheriff’s deputy and Garner Valley resident, was driving a 1978 Jeep off road, near the intersection of highways 371 and 74. The dirt road was steep and rutted, according to the CHP report, and Bahash lost control of the vehicle. The vehicle overturned and crushed Bahash, who was not wearing a seat belt. CAL FIRE paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene. Investigators have not ruled out drugs or alcohol as a contributing factor in the incident.
A passenger in the vehicle, Eli Higgins of Aguanga, sustained minor injuries and refused medical treatment.