High speed winds blowing sand onto the roadway, creating low visibility.
A common scene on North Indian Canyon Drive during the spring, causing the road to close.
But new at the scene this time: a totaled car.
“Essentially, we had two vehicles that ran through the barricades,” Palm Springs Police Lieutenant Gustavo Araiza explained. “The lead vehicle did not realize there was going to be a sand berm and once they hit the sand berm, they rolled their vehicle over.”
The sand berm was about 4 feet tall and covered the entire width of the road.
Once officers arrived to assist, the car was completely engulfed in flames.
But also there, as a result of the same windblown sand berm, another overturned car.
“They found another vehicle in the area that had been involved in a collision prior,” Lt. Araiza continued. “After doing some follow up, we learned that the driver and the passenger of that vehicle had also basically been involved in a collision after going through the barricades. The similarities in these two crashes is that both drivers in both instances were driving while intoxicated.”
After further investigation, the passenger in that car was a child.
According to Palm Springs police, they see drivers going past these barricades all too often.
“In this case, people are driving under the influence of alcohol so that causes an impairment but we do have a lot of drivers that are willfully going past these barricades,” Lt. Araiza said. “There’s really no excuse for it.”
It serves as a reminder that these roads are closed for a reason.
“It poses a danger to everybody involved, not just for the driver, but for the first responders that come out to the scene and have to work through getting sandblasted while they are out here,” Lt. Araiza explained. “The wind causes berms like this. We know when people operate their vehicles at night, they’re not going to see this berm. By the time they realize it’s in front of them, it’s too late and they can hit them and lose control. We just ask that when these traffic control devices, whether it’s road close or any other traffic control device, adhere to them and take heed.”
One driver and the child remain hospitalized with serious injuries.
Both drivers are now facing DUI charges and one for child endangerment.