Valley Police Beat: Fatality reported in Interstate 8 in Winterhaven

July 20, 2011|By SILVIO J. PANTA | Staff Writer

WINTERHAVEN —One U.S. Marine was dead and another was injured after an accident on Interstate 8 near here Tuesday that snarled traffic in both directions.

 The accident unfolded near the Ogilby Road off-ramp at 2:54 p.m. where the unidentified Marine was pronounced dead at the scene, said Winterhaven Fire Protection District Chief Steve Taylor.

The second Marine was flown to Yuma Regional Medical Center, Taylor said. The names of the two Marines or where they were stationed were not immediately available at press time.

The two Marines were traveling in a tanker truck used for refueling at the time of the accident. The truck fishtailed on westbound Interstate 8 before it overturned, Taylor said.

Lanes in both directions of the interstate were opened by 5:12 p.m., according to the Highway Patrol Web site.

Federal agents save undocumented immigrants near Jacumba

Federal agents Tuesday rescued a Mexican national who had been trapped in the mountains near Jacumba for what he told authorities was a week, a spokesman said.

The man, an unidentified 35-year-old undocumented immigrant, did not require any immediate medical treatment when he was spotted at 12:53 a.m. by crew members aboard a helicopter with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a press statement read.

Border Patrol Agent Jonathan Creiglow said the man claimed he been stranded since July 12 and carried his own food and water during that time.

The man traveled during the night and rested during the day in whatever shade he could find before he got lost, Creiglow said.

U.S. Border Patrol radio dispatchers received a 12:05 a.m. call Tuesday from the California Highway Patrol about someone who dialed 911 from the mountains near Jacumba, the statement read.

GPS coordinates were obtained through the man’s cellular phone and given to members of the Border Patrol’s Search, Trauma and Rescue Team.

Two Centinela State Prison inmates who died within days of each other identified

SEELEY — Coroner’s officials identified two Centinela State Prison inmates who recently died.

Frank Burum, who Imperial County Deputy Coroner Jesus Lara said was housed in the prison’s medical unit, died Saturday from liver failure.

Ramiro Gonzales, 21, of Los Angeles was found unresponsive inside his cell early Monday, Lara said. He was taken to the prison infirmary where he was pronounced dead, Lara said. An investigation into Gonzales’ death is under way, Lara said.

El Centro family at home during rollover crash

The occupant of a Southwind Avenue home in El Centro where a sport utility vehicle landed near the rear during a weekend rollover crash disputes reports that the residence was unoccupied at the time.

Brenda Gonzalez said she and her children were in their swimming pool when a Ford Excursion flipped over several times from westbound Interstate 8 and landed about 25 feet from the back of her home.

Gonzalez angrily disputed an El Centro firefighter’s report that she and her family were not home. El Centro Fire Battalion Chief Tim Reel said when firefighters arrived at the scene of the crash Sunday the wall separating Gonzalez’s home from Interstate 8 had been damaged and that the area was checked to see if anyone was injured at the home.

California Highway Patrol Officer Wes Boerner said there was nothing in a report that read a tire blowout was the cause behind the crash as it was initially reported.

Instead, the crash was the result of driver error, Boerner said. The driver, who Boerner identified as Eduardo Rivera, made an unsafe movement, Boerner said.

Staff Writer Silvio J. Panta can be reached at 760-337-3442 or at

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