A 74-year-old man joy-riding in a friend’s Jeep was killed today when the SUV plunged into a ravine.
The crash happened about 9:20 a.m. on a U.S. Forest Service fire road east of Hemet, just off state Route 74, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Hemet resident William Rohrbacher, 80, was off-roading in his red Jeep Cherokee with the victim and attempted to round a curve at an “unsafe speed,” said CHP Officer Darren Meyer, adding that the road was in “poor condition” because of the recent storms.
Rohrbacher lost control of the Jeep, which skidded down an embankment and crashed in a ravine, according to Meyer.
The passenger — identified as Winchester resident Robert Domenigoni– suffered fatal injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.
A CHP helicopter crew airlifted Rohrbacher out of the area and took him to Riverside County Regional Medical Center in Moreno Valley, where he was being treated for moderate injuries, according to Meyer.
Alcohol or drugs were not factors in the crash, he said.