CATHEDRAL CITY: Thrown from car, LQ man killed in I-10 crash

CATHEDRAL CITY — A 28-year-old La Quinta man died early Thursday morning when he was ejected from his overturning car after a single-vehicle crash on Interstate 10 crash west of Date Palm Drive. The victim was not wearing his seat belt, according to California Highway Patrol.

This morning’s fatal crash forced officials to temporarily close two of three lanes on the eastbound side of the freeway. Officers eventually issued a SigAlert for the area while they investigated the cause of the crash and removed vehicle parts and debris from the roadway.


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Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner officials later identified Sammy Labastida as the man who died in the crash. A coroner’s release indicated Labastida died about twenty minutes after the accident and was pronounced deceased at the scene at 1:01 a.m.

CHP, Cal Fire, and other emergency personnel responded to the scene of the deadly crash about 12:40 a.m., after multiple motorists called 911 to report that a vehicle had hit the center divider and flipped over.

911 callers reported the wrecked car had come to rest on its roof facing the wrong way and that the driver of the overturned vehicle had been ejected in the crash. Callers also reported that the car had caught fire.

When officials arrived, they found an overturned 2000 Nissan in the left two lanes of traffic with its critically injured driver nearby. The man, later identified as Labastida, had suffered major head trauma in the crash and despite life-saving efforts he died at the scene.

During their initial crash investigation, CHP determined Labastida had been traveling eastbound on the 10 Freeway when, for an unknown reason, he allowed his Nissan to drift to the left, where it struck the center guard rail and overturned.

Officers reopened the eastbound side of the freeway and lifted the SigAlert about three hours after the wreck.

CHP has not ruled out drug or alcohol intoxication as possible contributing factors in the deadly crash and their investigation is active and ongoing.


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Trevor Montgomery, 47, 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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