A Cal Fire truck driven by a unit chief was involved in a fatal car accident Wednesday night on Interstate 210 in San Bernardino.
• Traffic on the eastbound I-210 freeway was slowing for the congested afternoon commute when a Cal Fire pickup truck rear-ended a Ford Focus.
• The Focus immediately rear-ended a Chevrolet Impala that had slowed for traffic. The collisions occurred so quickly that police are still determining which happened first.
• The driver of the Focus died at the scene. The other two drivers suffered minor injuries.
California Highway Patrol Officer Mario Lopez confirmed that a white Cal Fire pickup truck was involved in the accident, but initially it was not known whether the truck caused the deadly crash.
“Right now we’re trying to determine the sequence of events that led up to the fatal crash,” Lopez said shortly after the accident occurred.
Later, an updated report in the Riverside Press-Enterprise stated that the white Cal Fire 2005 Chevrolet 1500 pickup truck – driven by Unit Chief Timothy McClelland, a 48-year-old resident of Beaumont — rear-ended a red 2001 Ford Focus. The Focus then rear-ended a silver 2003 Chevrolet Impala that had slowed for congested traffic. The two collisions occurred within seconds, so investigators were working to determining which one occurred first.
The Cal Fire truck pinned the Ford Focus against the center guardrail. The Impala spun out and came to rest facing the wrong way. It blocked the Del Rosa Road off-ramp.
The driver of the Focus, 48-year-old Gregory Kirwin of Banning, died at the scene. McClelland and the driver of the Impala, 51-year-old Kenneth Bietz of Yucaipa, suffered minor injuries, Lopez said.
The accident remains under investigation. Anyone who witnessed the crash is urged to call CHP dispatchers at 909-428-5400.
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