SJ man, 21, ID’d after fatal solo-vehicle crash

UPDATED: Tuesday, Aug. 20, 6:15 p.m., With details of victim’s brother’s similar death.

HEMET — Excessive speed has been cited as a possible contributing factor after a San Jacinto resident in a Corvette lost control of his vehicle and slammed into a power pole in Hemet late Sunday evening, Aug. 18. The deadly, solo-vehicle accident happened on Mountain Ave., west of Soboba St.

Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner officials have since identified Christopher McKelvey, 21, of San Jacinto, as the man who died in the crash. A Coroner’s release indicated McKelvey succumbed to his injuries at the scene and was pronounced deceased at 12:01 a.m. According to his friends and family, McKelvey was a former Hemet High School and Western Center Academy student, and had just turned 21 on July 24.

In an incredibly tragic twist of fate, Christopher’s brother, Andrew McKelvey, also died in a single-vehicle accident in December, 2016, when his vehicle crashed into an embankment and burst into flames while traveling on Esplanade Ave. in San Jacinto. He was just 22-years-old when he passed away.

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City of Hemet Police and Fire Departments, along with CHP, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, and AMR were dispatched to the scene about 11:58 p.m., Hemet Police Sgt. Dan Reinbolt has since said of the fatal crash.

When officials arrived within minutes of the dispatched call, they found a destroyed 1989 Chevy Corvette wrapped around a power pole. The sports car was completely unrecognizable and medical personnel determined the driver and sole occupant of the car had already passed away from his major traumatic injuries.

Christopher McKelvey, who just turned 21 last month, died after losing control of his Chevy Corvette and crashing into a power pole in Hemet. Christopher McKelvey Facebook photos

Officers who investigated the cause of the crash determined McKelvey was driving on Mountain Ave. when he lost control of his vehicle, which careened off the road and plowed into a power pole on the north side of the roadway, according to Reinbolt.

Witnesses to the fatal accident later reported McKelvey was traveling at high speed just before the collision, with several people claiming the victim was going about 100 mph when he lost control of his Corvette and crashed into the power pole. Officers are still working to determine how fast McKelvey was driving just before the deadly accident.

While officials worked at the scene, they called for the full closure of Mountain Ave., between Soboba and Hemet streets. The road remained closed in both directions for about five hours while the investigation was conducted.

“It is not known if alcohol or drugs played a role in this very unfortunate incident,” Reinbolt explained; saying the department’s investigation was ongoing.


Click any image to open full-size gallery.

Will Whelan/Hemet Valley Incidents – above photos

Ricardo Ruelas/Hemet News – above photos

Will Whelan/Hemet Valley Incidents video
Ricardo Ruelas/Hemet News video

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 currently writes for or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, the (now defunct) Valley Chronicle, Hemet & San Jacinto 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 29 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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