MORONGO VALLEY — Two young people from Los Angeles, a 14-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl, died when the Prius they were riding in collided with a Ford Fiesta driven by a Morongo Valley woman Wednesday night.

The collision happened at 10:30 p.m. on Twentynine Palms Highway west of Rosella Drive in downtown Morongo Valley.

CHP Officer J. Kobaly reports Colin Campbell, 49, of Los Angeles, was driving a gray 2018 Toyota Prius east on Twentynine Palms Highway. His wife, Gail Lerner, 49, was in the front passenger seat and their two teenagers were in the back seat.

Campbell tried to turn left into the Circle K and was hit by a white 2018 Ford Fiesta being driven west “at a high rate of speed” by 33-year-old Nicole Packer, of Morongo Valley, the CHP report states.

The two children were taken to Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs.

“Despite the lifesaving efforts of emergency medical professionals, the 17-year-old female passenger succumbed to her injuries,” Kobaly wrote.

She died at 10 minutes after midnight Thursday.

The 14-year-old boy was flown from Desert Regional to Loma Linda Children’s Hospital, where he, too died.

Campbell suffered major injuries and Lerner had what emergency professionals determined on the scene were moderate injuries. Both were also taken to Desert Regional.

Packer suffered major injuries and was taken to the Palm Springs hospital. She was also arrested on suspicion of felony driving under the influence.

CHP Officer B. Salinas is investigating the crash.

“The California Highway Patrol would like to remind everyone to slow down, pay attention, buckle up and designate a sober driver,” Kobaly concluded.

Lerner and Campbell were writers, directors and producers. Lerner wrote for “Will & Grace” and is an executive producer on “Black-ish.” Campbell is a writer, director and producer of plays and films. The two made a short film together, “Seraglio,” that was nominated for an Academy Award in 2001.

An LA Times portrait about them in 2004 said they had a 2-year-old daughter named Rudy; that girl would have been 17 today.

Packer pleaded guilty in 2013 to misdemeanor driving under the influence of alcohol and was sentenced to 111 hours of community service and three years of probation.

In 2016, she pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of driving while her license was suspended for driving under the influence. She was sentenced to two years of probation.

(2) comments


Her name was Ruby. Not Rudy. Please at least get her name right when you report this story.


Absolutely devastating. Deepest condolences to the family.

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