Five people, including two teenagers from Victorville, died in a series of incidents and accidents authorities say took place on High Desert roads last week, though the coroner has released only a few details in each case.
The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Coroner Division disclosed the deaths on its website. It tied them to four incidents between Wednesday and Saturday. One was at an intersection in Twentynine Palms; the other three happened on freeways in Apple Valley, Phelan and Hesperia, including the single-car crash that killed the two Victorville teenagers.
Barry Alan Absec, a 40-year-old man from Chino, was the first person killed in the series of events.
The California Highway Patrol said officers from its Victorville station responded to a call at 6:19 a.m. Wednesday. Officers responded to the area of State Route 138 and State Route 2 in Phelan, where the coroner says Absec was declared dead on the scene about 15 minutes later.
This intersection of the state highways is in a sparse area of unincorporated Phelan. The Mountain Top Café and a group of telecommunication towers are the closest nearby commercial sites amid surrounding desert and mountains.
The second death came early Thursday in Twentynine Palms.
Christiellen Rodrigues Almeida, a 47-year-old Twentynine Palms resident, was described as the passenger of a vehicle who died Thursday morning.
CHP said its Morongo station dispatched officers at 6:15 a.m. to the intersection of Indian Trail and Morongo Road, near a large solar farm in an otherwise sparse area of desert flatland. Almeida was declared dead at the scene more than two hours later, at 8:37 a.m., for reasons undisclosed by the coroner. It was unclear whether the car had been involved in a collision.
Two more deaths came Friday evening in Apple Valley.
A pair of teenagers from Victorville, described only as 17-year-old Hispanic males, died in what the coroner described as a single-vehicle rollover on northbound Interstate 15, near Wild Wash Road.
CHP said officers from its Victorville station responded to the scene at 8:25 p.m. Friday. One teen was declared dead at the scene nearly 30 minutes later, the coroner said, and the second was declared dead about 10 minutes after that in Victor Valley Global Medical Center’s emergency room.
The fifth death disclosed by the coroner came early Saturday.
CHP said its Victorville station dispatched officers at 3:55 a.m. to I-15, near the highway’s crossover with Main Street in Hesperia.
About 25 minutes later, at 4:20 a.m., an unidentified driver was declared dead on the scene. It was unclear whether the vehicle had crashed.
A coroner spokesman said the highway patrol stations are “the agencies handling the investigation” in each case. An active investigation is a common reason cited by law enforcement for not providing details on incidents to the public.
The coroner, which went from being an independent agency to a division of the county sheriff’s department in 2006, told the Daily Press it isn’t authorized to release details beyond its online disclosures. The CHP stations investigating each death couldn’t be reached Sunday for further information.
Charlie McGee covers the city of Barstow and its surrounding communities for the Daily Press. He is also a Report for America corps member with the GroundTruth Project, an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization dedicated to supporting the next generation of journalists in the U.S. and around the world. McGee may be reached at 760-955-5341 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @bycharliemcgee.
This article originally appeared on Victorville Daily Press: 2 Victorville teens among 5 people killed on High Desert roads within days