An SUV driven by a San Bernardino County sheriff “several times” flipped and crushed the roof of a small auto repair shop Sunday afternoon in Yermo after a witness said he lost control and crashed into several cars at nearly three times the speed limit on a narrow desert road.
Yermo resident Dylan Fernandez says he lives a short distance down the road from the scene, as the property owner is the wife of the owner of the auto shop: El Toro 2 Tire Auto Repair, at 501 West Yermo Road, adjacent to Upton’s Complete Market and across the street from the Welcome Center In Yermo and Thrift-N-More.
Upon hearing about the accident at about 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Fernandez said he went to investigate and was told by a shop worker across the street that the deputy was driving approximately 140 miles per hour when he made a slight left-hand bend, roughly 770 feet west of the store. cars, and “basically lost control of his own car.”
“He hit two cars on the side of the road, which made him flip onto the tire shop where the guy was already working on a car, and it landed on top of his canopy,” Fernandez told the Daily Press, adding that two cars were parked and he believed no one was inside. “As far as I am concerned, (the store owner) is fine. I went to check on him.”
Many details surrounding the wreck, including the cost of damage and the cause of the crash, are still being investigated, a spokeswoman for the sheriff, Gloria Huerta, said in an email on Sunday.
“What I can tell you is that the deputy was traveling east on Yermo Road when the accident happened,” Huerta told the Daily Press. “The unit rolled a few times and came to rest on a canopy in an auto repair shop.”
It added that the deputy and the “workshop employee” sustained minor injuries from the accident.
The Daily Press was unable to contact the store owner on Sunday.
The stretch of Yermo Road between Knowles Street and McCormick Street was closed for a few hours after the accident, but appears to have reopened around 5:30 p.m. Sunday, according to Google Maps.
The speed limit is 45 mph on the road where the officer was reported to have lost control at high speed. The slight curve to the left that Fernandez pointed out happens just west of the intersection of Yermo Road and Dividing Line.
Bradlin Torres, another local who provided photos of the aftermath to the Daily Press, says she and her friend went to investigate Sunday when they ran into the impasse and saw the chaotic nature of the scene.
“You can see it. It was a giant mayor’s truck that was above the tire shop.”
Torres added that an ambulance was leaving the scene upon arrival, and that a fire engine, an undercover police car and a few Sheriff’s and California Highway Patrol vehicles remained at the scene until about 2:30 p.m.
Fernandez says the store worker across the street spoke to officers at the scene who said the deputy deputy’s crash was related to a suspected pursuit on Interstate 15, which parallels Yermo Road to the north.
Officers allegedly told the store worker that the deputy was trying to bypass traffic on I-15 by going up the ramp to the highway to the east on Yermo Road.
“When he was driving, the speed was kind of unnecessary,” Fernandez said. “Definitely not a road you’d want to go down the 140th.”
Fernandez says he has known the auto shop owner since he was a child, and often uses his services for regular needs with his car and bike. He said that “regardless of whether he works on tires or not,” the owner has a favorite area where he sits a few feet from where the mayor’s SUV is landing.
“He’s always sitting right there, but maybe like another 10 feet to the right, so if this happens a little more where he normally works, or where he’s usually not shivering, it could be seriously disastrous,” Fernandez said. “He is a very good guy in this town, always ready to help people and things. I am so thankful he is well up and walking.”
Charlie McGee covers High Desert in California for the Daily Press, focusing on Barstow and surrounding communities. He is also a member of the Report for America corps of The GroundTruth Project, an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization dedicated to supporting the next generation of journalists in the United States and around the world. McGee can be reached at 760-955-5341 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter Tweet embed.