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.