One dead and two injured after major traffic collision

A Sheriff’s deputy patrol car and a white Honda crashed on Twentynine Palms Highway and Richard Drive in Yucca Valley at approximately 6:30 a.m. Saturday morning. Officials were still at the scene hours later at 1:30 p.m.

YUCCA VALLEY — One young Yucca Valley man died and one was severely injured in a major car accident Saturday morning.

A sheriff’s deputy patrol car and a white Honda Civic crashed on Twentynine Palms Highway and Richard Drive in Yucca Valley at approximately 6:30 a.m. Saturday.

The Sheriff’s Department later reported that Thomas Geiger, 22, of Yucca Valley, was driving a 2008 Honda Civic east on the highway while an unnamed sheriff’s deputy traveled west in a patrol unit. In the passenger seat of Geiger’s car was Robert Barajas, 24, of Yucca Valley.

Geiger tried to turn left onto Indio Avenue and did not have time to complete the turn. His Honda was struck on the passenger side by the deputy’s car.

Barajas was pronounced dead on the scene. The Sheriff’s Department noted that he was not wearing a seat belt, but did not say if he was thrown from the car.

An ambulance took Geiger to an area hospital. San Bernardino County Fire Battalion Chief Scott Tuttle said Geiger suffered major injuries; the Sheriff’s Department said Saturday night he was in stable condition.

The deputy suffered minor injuries and was treated and released from a local hospital.

Hours after the collision, Tuttle said it was unclear at that time if the deputy was responding to a call at the time of the accident. The Sheriff’s Department has not commented.

Barajas was a Joshua Springs Christian School student and athlete who graduated in 2013.

Geiger is a Yucca Valley High School alumnus who graduated in 2016. As a senior, he was honored as Citrus Belt Athlete of the Year and led the CIF Southern Section with 23.4 points per basketball game.

The sheriff’s regional Major Accident Investigation Team is investigating the collision. Anyone with information is asked to contact deputies at the Rancho Cucamonga station at (909) 477-2800.

(37) comments

Burton77

How fast was the deputy going? He split the Honda in half! I hope they investigate this well. RIP Bobby Barajas

Abbeee

What was the blood alcohol level of the driver in the Honda?

monumentwalker

Driver had no alcohol and already stated themselves on social media to stop all “hear say” and automatic speculation of such. Really good kid who was just at the wrong place at wrong time.

SorryNOTsorry

Mmmmm?? How exactly would you know that?? Sounds like hear say on your part!!

russ1958

SorryNotsorry, Are you a conspiracy theorist? You seem to need proof and think people don't know what they're talking about. Are you a flat earth person?

SorryNOTsorry

@russ1958- last I checked wanting proof is a normal thing...assuming well that doesn’t do anyone any good!! When you come up with a logical answer to why people are assuming there was not drugs or alcohol involved other than “they are good kids”

YuccaBuckeye

I won’t speculate, however the press release that SBSD were “unsure” if the Deputy was on a call or not, should be our first clue that someone isn’t communicating with integrity. How does the SBSD not know if their own vehicle was on a call? It’s absolutely OBVIOUS what happened, unless you are blind, however the question is why? If past transparency is any indication of what transpired, and from the first official statement, we will never know what happened publicly.

Burton77

Abbeee I don't think alcohol had anything to do with it. I think speed did. And trust me Yuccabuckeye this one will be known.

Abbeee

I’m sure the SBSD will do a thorough investigation after all this young man lost his life. The drivers blood alcohol level should be looked at, and I’m sure it will be I think it might of had something to do with it.

SorryNOTsorry

Are you friends with the people in the Honda?? Because unless you know first hand they were sober...you should probably stop speculating

Abbeee

Burton77 We will wait for SBSD final investigative report...

Burton77

Abbee I was a Paramedic for 17 years, I have been to hundreds of accidents. The speed limit there is 40 mph. There is no way you can split a car in two going 40 mph. I love our law enforcement but there is something fishy here.

King of the Road

On more than one occasion I have seen San Bernardino Sheriff cars tailgating cars in the fast last on 62, riding really close to a car until the car moves out of their way to the right. I just saw that happening a couple days ago, same type of car as pictured in this article. Anyhow, sad about a young man losing his life however it happened. Pray the other young man recovers. Sheriff Department - tell you officers to stop driving so recklessly and aggressively tailgating.

tamgish

i agree with you king of the road and mark simmons i have seen sheriffs drive reckless when they are not on calls as a matter of fact i saw the officer and he seemed to be find infact smiling and acting like nothing happened . i hope they find that it was is fault and the family sues them they need to follow the laws like us and they dont i have even seen them on there cell phones as well so they are not perfect at all they need to slow down and follow the speed limits like the rest if us UNLESS they are on a call and most of the time they are not

King of the Road

On more than one occasion I have seen San Bernardino Sheriff cars tailgating cars in the fast lane on 62, riding really close to a car until the car moves out of their way to the right. I just saw that happen a couple days ago, same type of car as pictured in this article. Anyhow, sad about a young man losing his life however it happened. Pray the other young man recovers. Sheriff Department - tell you officers to stop driving so recklessly and aggressively tailgating.

YuccaBuckeye

I pray for the family. They have had one tragedy after another, and this is the very worse thing that could ever happen to a mother! Like I said previously, the rate of speed that the SBSD vehicle had to have been going to do this to the small car, lights and siren or not, is unnecessary, unsafe, and deadly. I see them driving like maniacs at high rates of speed for no particular reason all the time, and not on calls, just trying to “get to the barn”, or that trailer at the community center. When my wife read the name aloud, it was an instant pain in our hearts. I hope justice will be served, but I won’t be surprised if it isn’t.

Josh

Keystone kops strike again.

YuccaBuckeye

Since I drive by that site everyday, twice a day, I thought I’d post an observation that the speed limit is 55mph in that area. However, this morning I slowed to 40mph to look at the scene. Zero skid marks on hwy62 from the Paradise Cafe and Walmart traffic light.

Branson Hunter

I was at that location on 62 driving shortly after the accident. It was a high-impact collision. On too many occasions I've seen officers speeding on 62 without flashing red lights.

King of the Road

I have seen the same, with the officers tailgating aggressively to get cars in the left lane to move to the right. Whatever the cause of this one, the Sheriffs need to stop driving recklessly.

YuccaBuckeye

Now the public affairs says, Bobby wasn’t wearing a seat belt? The entire seat was seperated from the car, seat belt would have been zero factor. Keep an eye on this “investigation”, as the facts are already being skewed

Mark Simmons

Not sure why these cops feel they have the right to drive faster than other drivers on the road without their flashing lights on? Today, while on my way to 29, I set my cruise control on 65 just east of the CHP station and was in the slower lane. I witnessed a sheriff’s SUV approaching at a much faster rate than the flow of traffic. And no, they did not have any lights on. There is absolutely no reason, unless these deputies should be traveling at a high rate of speed with no lights on their vehicles flashing. While I appreciate the efforts of the deputies something has to be done. Perhaps better training? No call is more important than a human life. If it is, then turn on those lights! What a senseless tragedy! I also thought it was interesting that when I stopped at the Starbucks in Yucca Valley I saw a CHP officer driving with one hand while holding his cup of coffee. Wow, just wow.

Victor_S

With all the comments about flashing lights vs this accident: it's getting clearer to me at least to install a dash cam on my car. This would also be wise for tourists driving rentals. There's just too much speculation re crashes, much of which could be addressed with video.

Abbeee

Good point. I wonder if SBSD vehicles have dash cams? If so it could provide a clearer picture of what happened.

Abbeee

Burton77 The speed limit there isn’t 40.

Everything needs to be looked at.

Abbeee

If it was the cops fault I do hope the family of the young man who lost his life can sue SBSD.

Burton77

Abbee you are right the speed limit is higher than 40 mph, and what were these two young men doing up at 6:30 am? But I hope they are able to tell us the speed of the depuuty.

SorryNOTsorry

Possibly partying all night?? Snapchat stories seem to confirm this....

MyTwoCents

Some of you need to understand that not all urgent calls warrant a Code 3 response (lights and sirens). Let us not forget that no matter how quickly a vehicle is traveling, the opposing vehicle/driver should not be turning in front of them without sufficient time to clear the path/intersection...law enforcement vehicle or not. It isn't that difficult to determine that an oncoming vehicle is rapidly approaching thereby making a left-hand turn unadvisable.

Parker

An "eyewitness" at the scene said the speeding patrol car had NO lights on, meaning not even headlights nor running lights.



On a personal note... I too have witnessed patrol vehicles driving at a high rate of speed passing heavy traffic, and seeing them pull into their office parking lot on Whitefeather Rd too many times to count. Unbelievable. Their selfish behavior must stop.

Parker

By the way, at the time of the accident, it was fairly dark out, "grey-light" I call it.

If in fact the patrol car had "no lights on" (including no headlights nor running lights) the driver in the Honda would likely not had seen anything coming, even at the posted 55mph limit. But it looks like much faster. No skid marks either. Why? Was the officer multi-tasking? Was the officer chasing someone, not seeing an oncoming car about to turn in front of the him/her? Why no statement yet from the officer that only sustained minor injuries?

Blayd

My thoughts and observations:

1)From other news sources there was an unsafe left turn made in front of the officer. Even with rapt attention from the officer it leaves a mere second or two before collision at highway speeds.

2) The sheriff's car t-boned (broadsided/hit abeam) the young man's car. Consider the sheriff's car will have that police package re-enforced push bumper making first contact, hence why the compact car was caved in badly on the passenger side. Also, the rescue personel mostly likely used cutting implements to extract the accident victims, so the wreckage just looks worse.

3)No skid marks: The anti-skid system worked as it is supposed to. Faster stopping with no skid marks.

4)Driving at any time of the day or week shouldn't require an explanation. I drive all hours including in the wee hours of the morning, which may include weekends depending on travel to jobsite or nature of services to be performed.

In summation: Unless you were a direct witness, stop making assumptions about either party involved in this very tragic accident.

I have been in this type of accident with someone making an unsafe left turn in front of me at highway speeds. No ABS in that older model light truck, so I left massive skid marks. I evidently had more reaction time so clipped the rear of the other vehicle. Lots of damage to both vehicles, but mine was able to make it home in spite of being declared a total loss. It was traumatic for all. The silver lining was that everyone was uninjured.

The lesson here:. Slow down, stay alert, drive carefully and be prepared for the unexpected.

ElectricWheelchair

Thank you, your response is rational and logical.

Mark Simmons

Thanks Blayd. Your explanation is well thought out and makes perfect sense. I apologize to all for my abrupt reaction. It is still sad. But if the driver turned in front of deputy there was little he could do. Tragic!

Josh

Rest in peace Bobby.You were a great kid. My kid played football with you.

My thoughts and prayers to the Barajas family.

Land@247_

The article reported the passenger wasn't wearing his seatbelt (completely irrelevent considering the violence of the impact), however, in the photo it appears the seatbelt is actually still fastened. Ripped apart from the body of the vehicle along with the seat, but still fastened between the console and the seat itself. Not sure what motive is behind reporting that he wasn't wearing a seatbelt, but it certainly appears to me that he was.

Desertmama

I wonder if the deputy had his headlights on. At that time of the morning it would have been hard if not impossible to see him if he didn't have his headlights on.

My prayers are with everyone involved.

Rest in peace Bobby

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