Moreno Valley man killed in Colorado River jet-ski explosion

EARP, Calif. — A Moreno Valley man was killed when his personal watercraft exploded while he was attempting to start the vessel at a boat launch in the Colorado River town of Earp Friday afternoon, June 11.

The deadly explosion that killed the man happened at the River Shores Estates on the Colorado River in San Bernardino County, according to officials.


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Deputies from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Colorado River Station, along with medical personnel from the Buckskin Fire Department and River Medical Ambulance, were dispatched to the scene around 12:30 p.m. sheriff’s officials later reported.

When officials arrived they found witnesses attempting to render aid to the victim, since identified as 48-year-old, Juan Pineda-Flores. He was taken to the La Paz Regional Medical Center in Parker, Arizona, where he later succumbed to his injuries and passed away, said officials.

Witnesses later told deputies that the victim was attempting to start the watercraft as it sat on a trailer at the launch ramp when fuel or vapors inside the hull ignited. The subsequent explosion launched Pineda-Flores off the jet ski and into the river.

He sustained critical injuries in the explosion and was pulled onto the shore by witnesses where medical aid was rendered until paramedics arrived and took over.

Deputies are continuing to investigate the cause of the explosion and have not yet said if alcohol or drug intoxication were possible contributing factors that led to the fatal incident.

Contact the writer:

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.

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