RIVERSIDE – Officials are investigating after a Riverside resident died when a car smashed head-on into a traffic signal pole May 19. The driver of the car suffered minor injuries in the deadly, single-vehicle crash that happened at the intersection of Van Buren Boulevard and King Avenue in an unincorporated area of Riverside.
Coroner’s officials later identified the victim as 21-year-old, Prince Deavon Armony Franky Ketcha.
Alcohol and/or drug intoxication have not yet been ruled out as contributing factors in the deadly crash, pending toxicology results, according to California Highway Patrol Sgt. Eugene Norris.
Riverside Fire and Police Departments responded to the early-morning accident about 12:45 a.m., after several other motorists and witnesses called 911 to report the crash.
When emergency first responders arrived, they found vehicle parts and debris strewn across the roadway.
They also found a newer, white Toyota Avalon with heavy front-end damage sitting in the middle of eastbound lanes of traffic on Van Buren Blvd.
The passenger from the wrecked vehicle, who was later identified as Ketcha, had sustained major, traumatic injuries and was clinging to life inside the mangled wreckage of the barely recognizable car.
AMR medics transported Ketcha to Parkview Community Hospital Medical Center where he succumbed to his injuries less than one hour later and was pronounced dead by hospital staff. According to coroner’s officials, Ketcham died at 1:42 p.m.
The driver of the car suffered minor injuries in the collision, according to Norris. He was treated at the scene before medics transported him to an area hospital. The full extent of his injuries were not known; however, he was seen walking around after the fatal wreck.
“The vehicle was traveling at an unknown speed when reasons unknown at this time it drifted to the right and hit a light standard at a high rate of speed,” said Norris.
Southern California Edison crews responded to the scene to assess the integrity of traffic pole the driver plowed into.
During their investigation, CHP officials called for the temporary closure of eastbound lanes of traffic on Van Buren Boulevard. The road remained closed for about 2 hours, until officials concluded their investigation.
The cause of the deadly wreck is under investigation.
This is a breaking story and will be updated as new information becomes available.