Dump truck driver accused of starting deadly Calimesa Fire due in court

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BANNING - A dump truck driver accused of causing a deadly 1,000-acre blaze in Calimesa by intentionally dropping flaming debris from his vehicle in a windstorm is slated to be arraigned next week. Antonio Ornelas Velazquez, 38, of Desert Hot Springs was charged earlier this year with two counts of involuntary manslaughter and one count of burning an inhabited structure for the Oct. 10, 2019, blaze. The defendant, who is free on bond, is scheduled to appear before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Timothy Hollenhorst on Tuesday at the Banning Justice Center. Velazquez was arrested in February following a 14-month-long investigation by Cal Fire peace officers and Riverside County sheriff's detectives. "The Sandalwood Fire was caused by a burning load of trash that was dumped next to
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