A multi-vehicle collision near a busy Downtown Palm Springs intersection Monday evening left one man dead and another arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and DUI. Court records show the man has previous DUI convictions.
Palm Springs Police Chief Andy Mills said a conversion van seen by witnesses traveling at a high rate of speed southbound on North Palm Canyon Drive struck a parked vehicle and then careened into other vehicles at about 5 PM near the intersection of North Palm Canyon Drive and Alejo Road, causing a chain reaction. Seven people were inside five vehicles involved in the incident. Four of the people were transported to the hospital for further evaluation; two did not seek medical attention.
The Riverside County Coroner’s Office reported Tuesday that a seventh person, a 36-year-old Chula Vista man, succumbed to his injuries at Desert Regional Medical Center approximately 30 minutes after the collision. Mills said that some motorists involved in the incident had “major injuries.”
The driver of the van, a 41-year-old who public records show has an address in Portland, Ore., was booked into jail in Indio just after midnight Tuesday and was ordered held on $2 million bail. He faces three felony charges, including vehicular manslaughter, murder, and driving under the influence (DUI). His next court appearance is currently scheduled for Thursday at 8 AM at the Larson Justice Center.
Riverside County court records show the man was convicted of DUI in Palm Springs in 2008. Oregon court records show he also has a DUI conviction there in 2006, as well as dozens of other court appearances for traffic and parking violations. The DUI conviction was dismissed in 2008 after he completed a diversion program.
Police had alerted the public at 5:40 PM to avoid the intersection while they worked to clear the scene. The roadway remained closed until later Monday evening.