A crash on Highway 74, about a quarter-mile west of Cranston Station, resulted in the death of Idyllwild local Russell Alyn Bomgardner.
According to the still unfinished California Highway Patrol report, at 9:57 p.m. Friday, Jan. 11, Bomgardner, 26, was driving a 2004 red Ford Ranger pickup truck westbound on Highway 74 near Blackburn Road when, for unknown reasons, he lost control of his vehicle, causing the vehicle to rotate counter clockwise, leave the road and crash into a tree in the center median at which point the vehicle came to rest. The crash caused the tree to fall into the eastbound lane of Highway 74.
Just as the tree fell, Idyllwild resident Gary Weber, 74, was driving his 2017 gray Honda CRV eastbound and struck the downed tree. The impact caused injury to Weber’s passenger, Susan Weber, 68, also of Idyllwild. She was transported by American Medical Response ambulance to Hemet Valley Medical Center complaining of pain in the chest and neck.
First responders had to use the “Jaws of Life” to cut into the wreckage to extract Bomgardner from his badly damaged vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 10:35 p.m.