DHS man, 35, killed when SUV overturns into country club wall and home ID’d

DESERT HOT SPRINGS — A man whose vehicle overturned and crashed on top of a brick wall and into a structure died at the scene late Tuesday night. The deadly crash happened just outside the entrance to Desert Crest Country Club, near the intersection of Dillon Road and Desert Crest Avenue in Desert Hot Springs.

Riverside County Sheriff-Coroners later identified Charles Ray Wells Jr., 35, of Desert Hot Springs as the man killed in the crash. According to a coroner’s release Wells died about 45 minutes after the crash was reported and he was pronounced deceased at 11:09 p.m.

When officials arrived they found a wrecked SUV upside down and on top of a brick wall. The trapped victim died at the scene. Eye News Media photo

Emergency first responders were dispatched to the accident about 10:35 p.m., after numerous area residents from the Desert Crest Country Club called 911 to report hearing the crash.

Seventeen firefighters from four engine companies and one truck company responded to the accident, Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire spokesperson April Newman explained in an incident report.

“The first arriving engine company reported a single vehicle overturned with one victim trapped,” Newman wrote. According to witnesses, the overturned Cadillac was laying on its roof on top of the destroyed brick wall and resting against a telephone pole.

Officials found vehicle parts and debris scattered near the scene of the wreck as well as in the backyard of the mobile home the SUV struck while overturning.

Firefighters determined they would need to cut Wells from his destroyed SUV and they began setting up the “Jaws of Life” to extricate the mortally injured man from the vehicle.

While firefighters were working to cut Wells from the SUV and CHP was investigating the cause of the crash, the still trapped victim succumbed to his injuries and paramedics pronounced him deceased at the scene.

During their investigation officials called for the temporary closure of Dillon Rd, but officers soon allowed one lane of westbound Dillon Rd. and both lanes of eastbound traffic remained unimpeded. All lanes were opened by Wednesday morning.

CHP determined Wells had been traveling westbound when for an unknown reason he suddenly veered off the road and overturned, crashing on top of a 5-foot tall brick wall behind a residence. The home’s awning appeared damaged by the deadly wreck.

The SUV was eventually righted back onto its wheels and towed from the scene.

CHP’s has not yet released any information regarding the crash and their investigation is ongoing.

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Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 46, recently moved to Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations, including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle and Anza Valley Outlook, as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and The Mountain Echo in Shasta 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. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s 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 – soon to be 15 – grandchildren.

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