Checking damage from earlier I-10 crash, SD man, 28, dead after 2nd collision

WHITEWATER — Officials have identified a man who died after he was struck by a vehicle while checking on damage from an earlier, non-injury traffic collision Saturday evening, Feb. 2. The fatal collision happened on the westbound Interstate 10, about one mile west of Haugen-Lehmann Way, in the unincorporated community of Whitewater.

Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner officials yesterday identified James Kenrod, 28, of Santee, as the man who died in the crash. A coroner’s release indicated Kenrod was pronounced deceased a little more than an hour after the crash and passed away at 8:13 p.m.

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CHP and other emergency personnel were dispatched to the fatal collision just after 7 p.m., CHP Officer and spokesperson Darren Meyer later explained.

While investigating the deadly collision, CHP determined that Kenrod was driving his gray, 2014 Subaru Legacy westbound on Interstate 10, when he was involved in a minor, non-injury crash with another vehicle. That initial collision left Kenrod’s Subaru disabled in the number two westbound lane of I-10, about five miles east of Cabazon. After the first accident Kenrod stepped out of his vehicle to inspect the damage and try to move his vehicle out of the lanes of traffic.

At the same time, Thomas Berge Jr., 58, of Alhambra, was driving a white, 2008 Honda CRV westbound approaching the disabled Subaru and Kenrod. As Kenrod was standing outside his vehicle, the Honda struck the Subaru from behind. Kenrod “was struck by both the Subaru and the Honda,” according to Meyer, who said both vehicles sustained major damage as a result of the collision.

Kenrod sustained major injuries and was rushed by AMR ground ambulance to San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital where, despite life-saving efforts, he succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased by hospital staff.

The driver and sole occupant of the Honda was not injured and there were no passengers in Kenrod’s vehicle.”

Alcohol and drugs have yet to be ruled out as contributing factors in determining the cause of this collision,” and CHP’s investigation is ongoing, according to Meyer.

Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 47, moved last year to the Intermountain area of 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 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 28 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.

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