MORONGO VALLEY - One man is dead and three Marines are seriously injured after a head-on vehicle collision on Twentynine Palms Highway Thursday.
Louis Castellucci, 67, of Yucca Valley, was pronounced dead on scene from injuries he suffered after his 1979 Chevrolet Caprice station wagon was struck head-on by a 2004 Saab sedan, driven by 21-year-old Andrew Dufresne.
According to a news release from the California Highway Patrol's Morongo Basin station, Dufresne was driving westbound on Twentynine Palms Highway near Lanning Lane in Morongo Valley at 12:14 p.m., when his vehicle crossed the center two-way left turn lane, veering into oncoming traffic and hitting Castellucci's vehicle.
Dufresne, a Marine stationed in Twentynine Palms, had two passengers in his vehicle who are also Marines. Dufresne was trapped in his vehicle before emergency crews cut the top off the sedan and pulled him from the driver seat. He was then flown to Desert Regional Medical Center, where his two passengers were also taken by Morongo Basin Ambulance.
According to the news release, Castellucci was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the collision.
The report states alcohol does not appear to have contributed to the crash, but CHP Officer Eric Brewer confirmed on scene that the two passengers in Dufresne's car admitted they had been drinking.
The collision stopped eastbound and westbound traffic lanes for more than an hour, leaving traffic backed up for several miles.
CHP Officer Alex Scott is investigating the crash. Anyone with information that may aid in the investigation is asked to call Officer Brewer at (760) 366-3707.