A high ranking Cal Fire chief from the San Bernardino County Fire Department was involved in a multistage accident that killed one Wednesday afternoon in Highlands.
According to the California Highway Patrol, Unit Chief Timothy McClelland was driving a white Cal Fire Chevrolet 1500 pickup truck eastbound on Interstate 210 just west of Del Rosa Avenue at 5:02 p.m. when he rear ended a small Ford Focus being piloted by 48-year-old Gregory Kinwin from the city of Banning.
Kinwin’s car also crashed into the back of a silver Chevrolet Impala sedan which was slowing to prepare for upcoming traffic. The order of these two accidents is presented differently in conflicting accident reports, some saying that McClelland struck the Focus first, others saying that he struck the vehicle only because of the accident in front of him.
Order of the collisions aside, the impact between the fire truck and the small sedan killed Kinwin, who was pronounced dead at the scene. McClelland and the driver of the Impala, 51-year-old Kenneth Bietz of Yucaipa, escaped with only minor injuries.
The Cal Fire truck suffered serious front end garage as a result of the accident, though the Ford Focus faired much worse, having been smashed in completely from the rear and heavily damaged in the front as a result of the secondary (or primary) collision.
To settle the conflicting reports and come to a conclusion on the causes of the ordeal, the accident is currently under a thorough investigation. No punishments or criminal charges have been handed out at this time.
Anyone who witnessed the crash who may be able to offer inside on the order and circumstances of the accident are encouraged to call the CHP with information as soon as possible.
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