A hit-and-run driver struck local resident and Mountain Harvest Mountain employee Greg Gates around 8:45 p.m. on Saturday, May 26. Gates was bicycling home from work along Highway 243. As he approached Tollgate Road, while riding on the shoulder on the Idyllwild Pines side of 243, a pickup truck turning left onto 243 from Tollgate stuck him head on.
Gates said he was wearing headlamps and his bike lights were on. He said he was on Highway 243 proceeding through the intersection after a car pulled through; but the truck behind the car failed to stop at the stop sign and struck Gates. A number of motorists stopped to assist him. A friend later transported him to Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage.
Gates suffered lacerations, a concussion and muscle and tissue damage to one of his arms. The damage to his arm was sufficient to render it inoperable. No bones were broken and he is gradually recovering feeling in his arm and some use. As a result of the concussion, he said that his headaches are intense and he is having difficulty sleeping. As to the man in the truck who left the scene, Gates said, “I’d love to get the help to get the medical bills paid for [he has no medical insurance] and my bike and helmet [the bike was his only transportation].”
Gates said he remembers the man in the truck that hit him stopped, asked, “Are you OK?” then left the scene.
Motorists who stopped said the truck appeared to be a later model black or gray Toyota extended cab, 4-door, driven by an older male. The license plate frame possibly read “Toyota of the Desert.”
Chris Fourrox, one of the motorists who stopped to assist Gates, said he thought a portion of the license plate read “751.”
Anyone with information that could lead to identifying the truck and its driver can contact California Highway Patrol Officer David Kling at (951) 769-2000.