South Dakota man ID’d after fatal wrong-way collision in Indio

INDIO, Calif. — Authorities say a wrong-way driver was killed and several others were injured in a three-vehicle, head-on crash in Indio Thursday morning, May 27. The deadly collision happened at the intersection of Avenue 42 and Jackson Street. The accident forced the hours-long closure of Avenue 42 and some delays in travel times were later reported by area residents.


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City of Indio police officers, along with other emergency personnel, were dispatched to the scene around 7 a.m. after receiving multiple 911 calls reporting the crash.

When officials arrived they found three involved vehicles, including a black Mazda CX-5 and a pickup truck. Both vehicles sustained heavy front-end damage. No information about the third vehicle was immediately available.

A 38-year-old South Dakota man was killed after he plowed head-on into a pickup truck while driving the wrong way on Avenue 42 in Indio. A third vehicle was damaged when the pickup truck was thrust backward by the force of the impact. KESQ News Channel 3 photo

The most seriously injured victim was rushed to John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries and passed away about an hour later.

Riverside County Sheriff-coroner officials later identified 38-year-old Ronald Cook as the man killed in the collision. A coroner’s release indicated he was pronounced deceased at 7:55 a.m. Cook was reportedly visiting the area from Sisseton, South Dakota, a small town of 2,500 residents.

Cook’s passenger, a woman whose name was withheld, was also taken to JFK for treatment of what were later described as serious injuries.

Paramedics also treated several other patients at the scene for minor injuries.


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During their subsequent investigation, officers determined Cook had been driving the wrong way into oncoming traffic on Avenue 42 when he plowed head-on into a pickup truck, Indio Police Department spokesman Ben Guitron has since said of the accident. The impact thrust the truck backward and into a car that was behind it, according to Guitron.    

While officials worked at the scene they called for the temporary, full-closure of the intersection of Avenue 42 and Jackson Street in all directions. The intersection remained closed for the next seven hours until it was re-opened around 2 p.m.

Indio PD’s investigation is continuing and officials have not said if alcohol or drug intoxication were considered to be contributing facts in the wrong-way collision.

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Trevor Montgomery, 49, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS).

Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County-based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.