A head-on collision at about 6:50 p.m. Saturday, April 18, resulted in a fatality that closed Highway 74 in both directions near Bull Canyon Road (40 feet west of mile marker 73.75) to just above Palm Desert. The closure lasted until 11:01 p.m. according to California Highway Patrol Public Information Officer Darren Meyer.
Teresa Gonzalez, 50, of Mountain Center was driving her 1990 Ford F-150 truck westbound when she crossed the double-yellow lines and collided head-on with a 2007 Kia Sorrento heading eastbound and driven by Danny Deubler, 83 of Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Deubler and passenger Kathy Deubler, also 83, sustained major injuries and were air transported to Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs.
Meyer said Gonzalez died at the scene from injuries she sustained. He noted that occupants of both vehicles were wearing seatbelts at the time of the collision and that “alcohol and or drugs are suspected to be a contributing factor in this collision.”
The highway was closed for the times cited because of the severity of the crash, according to Meyer. Reading from the report, Meyer said there had been a fuel leak and one of the badly injured individuals had to be cut from the vehicle. Two helicopters landed — one to take the most severely injured person first, and the other for the second. Two tow trucks also responded. In addition, a coroner had to come from Perris and did not arrive on scene until 9:30 p.m. Also, since drugs or alcohol might have been involved, investigators had to survey the collision site for evidence.
The incident is being investigated by CHP Officer Nunez. Anyone with information or questions may contact Meyer at 951-769-2020, ext. 238.