RECKLESS DRIVING BLAMED FOR MORONGO GRADE CRASH MONDAY

RECKLESS DRIVING BLAMED FOR MORONGO GRADE CRASH MONDAY

The California Highway Patrol has released additional information about the two-vehicle crash on the Morongo Grade Monday afternoon that closed the highway. According to the CHP, Juan Ibarra, 20, of Twentynine Palms was driving a red 2007 Chevrolet Silverado westbound in a reckless manner when he lost control of his truck shortly before 2 p.m. The rear of the truck struck the mountainside on the north side of the highway, just east of Indian Canyon Road. After the initial impact, the truck then struck a silver 2003 Honda Civic, driven westbound by Ashley Billington, 21, of Twentynine Palms, who CHP says was also driving recklessly. A 20-year-old male passenger in the back seat of the truck was ejected in the crash and sustained major injuries. Billington and her passenger, and Ibarra and his other passenger all complained of pain, but had no visible injuries. All five of the injured were taken to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs by ambulance. Westbound Highway 62 was completely closed for about 30 minutes, and traffic was delayed in both directions for an hour and a half. Alcohol or drugs are not believed to be a factor in the crash. The CHP reminds residents to wear their seatbelts properly.

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