LA QUINTA: Victims identified in crash that left two dead, three seriously injured

LA QUINTA — Officials have identified two drivers who died in a two-vehicle collision, Sunday, Nov 5. The deadly accident happened at the intersection of Washington Street and Eisenhower Drive/Rancho La Quinta Drive in La Quinta. Three other people were injured in the fatal wreck.

Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner officials later identified Jerry Heredia, 22, of Indio and Tatham Crawford, 28, of Palm Desert as the two drivers killed in the collision.

According to a coroner’s release, Heredia was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash at 6:51 p.m. Crawford was pronounced dead at 7:27 p.m., after being rushed to John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital in Indio.

Fourteen firefighters from two engine companies and one truck company responded to the deadly crash, Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Public Information Officer Jody Hagemann explained in an incident report.

Deputies from the Riverside County Sheriff’s La Quinta Police Station were also dispatched to the scene of the deadly crash and they investigated the accident, Riverside Sheriff’s Sergeant David Smith explained in a written press release after the fatal accident.

Deputies and Cal Fire officials arrived on scene within minutes of the reported crash and located two vehicles that had been involved in the collision.

Officials quickly determined there were victims trapped inside both vehicles, requiring simultaneous cut and rescue operations.

While firefighters used the “Jaws of Life” to free the trapped victims, Heredia succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead by medical personnel at the scene.

The other driver and three additional people were eventually freed from the wreckages of the vehicles and all four victims were eventually transported to area hospitals, where the other driver eventually succumbed to his injuries.

Officials have not named the three other victims who were injured in the deadly crash.

Based on the circumstances, members from the La Quinta Police Traffic Reconstruction Team responded to the scene and assumed the investigation.

During their investigation, officials called for the temporary closure of Washington Street at Eisenhower Drive. The roadway was re-opened after Traffic Reconstruction Team members concluded their initial investigation.

“At this time, it is unknown if drugs or alcohol were a factor in the collision,” said Smith.

Anyone with information about this investigation or who witnessed the fatal crash is encouraged to contact the La Quinta Police Department Traffic Team at (760) 863-8990. Callers can refer to incident file number LA173090051 and can remain anonymous. Citizens may also submit a tip using the Sheriff’s CrimeTips online form.


Contact the writer:

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Trevor Montgomery, who recently moved from Riverside County to Shasta County, runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for Riverside County based newspapers Valley News, The Valley Chronicle and Anza Valley Outlook as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident.

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center and Lake Elsinore Station, along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 27 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 14 grandchildren.

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