Authorities Monday identified a motorist who was struck and killed by a Jeep in Thermal while trying to tow away his disabled sedan, which he had crashed into a water tower.
Jesus Arellano-Rodriguez, 23, of Thermal, died at the scene of the crash, which occurred at 3:45 a.m. Sunday at the intersection of Johnson Street and Avenue 60.
Arellano-Rodriguez crashed his 2014 Ford Focus into the water tower off of westbound Avenue 60, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Jackie Quintero. He left the scene, but returned with a 2000 Ford Ranger, which he was using to tow the Focus, she said.
As Arellano-Rodriguez was towing the car, a 22-year-old Mexican national identified as Daniel Bernal was steering the Focus, but lost control of the car, which ended up disabled on the northbound side of Johnson Street, north of Avenue 62, Quintero said.
While the Focus was out of commission in the roadway — its headlights off — a 2009 Jeep Laredo driven by 20-year-old Mecca resident Angel Marcelo crashed into the car, Quintero said. The Jeep also struck Arellano-Rodriguez, who authorities found on Johnson Street, about a quarter-mile south of Avenue 60, according to the county coroner’s office.
Bernal was later arrested on suspicion of drunken driving. County jail records show that he was released from custody later Sunday; records do not indicate that Marcelo was arrested.
The crash remains under investigation and anyone with information was asked to call the Indio CHP office at (760) 772-5300.