One person was killed, and at least a dozen people were injured in three separate crashes over the weekend. Sheriff officials say that about 3 a.m. Saturday morning, a Honda Fit driven by LaVerne Romero of Cathedral City was driving westbound on Two Mile Road when she ran the stop sign at Lear Avenue and hit a Kia Sol broadside, driven by Juan Navarro, 22, a Marine assigned to HQ Company, 7th Marine Regiment at the Twentynine Palms Marine base.


Caption: Corey Coumbes, 24, the passenger in the back seat of the Kia, was killed when the Honda, driven by LaVerne Romero of Cathedral City, ran the stop sign at Lear Avenue and Two Mile Road, and broadsided the Kia, about 3 a.m. April 12.


Courtesy photo: 29 Palms Fire Department

Navarro was the designated driver in the Kia and was sober, according to Sheriff’s Sergeant Steve Wilson. Navarro sustained a broken jaw. Killed in the crash was Corey Coumbes, 24, also a Marine with 7th Marines, who was sitting in the right rear seat of the Kia. Cole Wiley, 23, another Marine, suffered multiple broken bones. The passengers in the Honda—Julianna Santillan, 25, Tiffany Romero, 30, and Shannelle Clipper, 41—all suffered unknown injuries. Two of the women were flown to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs; one of the Marines and the other woman were taken to Hi-Desert Medical Center. Lear Avenue was closed to traffic for about six hours during the investigation of the crash. Rescue personnel and military police from the Combat Center assisted at the scene. The Sheriff’s Department is investigating.

A man described as being in “an altered state of consciousness” by paramedics is believed to be responsible for a four-vehicle crash in Yucca Valley Saturday night. According to witnesses, the man was speeding westbound about 80 miles per hour in the center lane of Highway 62, swerving in and out of traffic just before 9 p.m. As the man approached La Contenta Road, he blew through the red light and hit a red Hyundai in the middle of the intersection. His car then hit a Ford that was in the eastbound left turn lane, and hit a third car in the eastbound 62, before his car flipped upside down, ending up on its roof in the slow lane of eastbound Highway 62. The driver, who has not been identified, was taken to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs. A woman in the red Hyundai, the first vehicle hit, was taken to Hi-Desert Medical Center with minor injuries. The CHP is investigating the crash.

At 6:43 p.m. Sunday evening, a red Mazda 6 with a man, woman, and toddler, and a white Hyundai Sonata with two women inside, crashed head-on and blocked the eastbound lanes of the highway on the highway near Arizona Avenue in Joshua Tree. The highway was shut down to allow helicopters to land and transport the victims to area hospitals. The male driver of the Mazda had to be cut out using the Jaws of Life; he was taken by ground ambulance to Desert Hospital in Palm Springs with serious injuries. The toddler was taken to Hi-Desert Medical Center. Three helicopters were called in to fly the female patients with major injuries to Loma Linda Hospital, Eisenhower Hospital, and Desert Hospital. The California Highway Patrol is investigating the crash.


The featured presentation at the Morongo Basin MAC meeting on April 14 is on homelessness. Reporter Dan Stork has the full agenda…
At this month’s meeting of the Morongo Basin Municipal Advisory Council, Rae Packard will give a guest presentation on homelessness. Another informational presentation will be a preview of the homeowners’ Solar Expo slated for the end of next week. Public safety, committee, and community reports round out the agenda. The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. in the Joshua Tree Community Center, 6171 Sunburst.


Twentynine Palms firefighters didn’t get much sleep Friday night. Before they were called to the fatal crash at Lear and Two Mile Road, they were at a structure fire in the Desert Heights area. Shortly after 9 p.m., a neighbor called 911 to report a 1,400-square foot house in the 1500 block of Decker Avenue was on fire. Twentynine Palms fire fighters, with assistance from the Combat Center’s fire department, arrived at 9:22 to find the home fully involved with flames. The house is a total loss. Twentynine Palms Fire Engineer Lee Martin said the residents were not at home at the time of the fire; a neighbor had opened the house’s door and let two dogs out of the burning house. Firefighters used an oxygen mask on one dog who was suffering breathing problems, and he was later taken to the vet. The cause of the fire is under investigation.


Courtesy photo: 29 Palms Fire Department


Twentynine Palms fire fighters responded to a home in the 1500 block of Decker Friday night. They rescued a dog who was suffering smoke inhalation and gave it oxygen.






And Twentynine Palms fire fighters were called back to the same area in Desert Heights Sunday afternoon for another house fire. About 1 p.m. Sunday, fire fighters from Twentynine Palms, the Combat Center and County Station 36 in Joshua Tree arrived at a home in the 67000 block of Pole Line Road to find the single family house well-involved in fire, with flames in the attic. Fire fighters watched as the roof collapsed on itself. The 1,400-square foot home is a total loss. The cause is under investigation.


Caption: The home in the 67000 block of Pole Line was a total loss after a fire burned through the roof Sunday.


Courtesy photo: 29 Palms Fire Department


A Morongo Valley man went on a smash and burn rampage early Saturday morning. According to a Sheriff’s report, a woman went to her ex-boyfriend’s home in the 11000 block of Coronado Drive in Morongo Valley late Friday night to retrieve her belongings. She told deputies that her ex-boyfriend, Joshua Shipley, 30, used his fist to break her car windows, injuring her with flying glass. She also said Shipley hit her in the side of the face. Shipley is said to have gone inside his residence, gathered all the woman’s possessions together, and set them on fire inside the home, filling the home with smoke and igniting the walls of the house. Joshua Shipley was arrested for investigation of arson, and for possession of stolen property. He was booked at the West Valley Detention Center with his total bail set at $275,000.


It was not your typical off-road experience when representatives from the County Sheriff’s Department, Bureau of Land Management, Marine Corps Base, the National Park Service and County Supervisor James Ramos office buckled up and set out in a convoy toward Sunfair Dry Lake. Z107.7 assignment reporter Mike Lipsitz explains in this first of a two-part series…
The group was met on the almost featureless dry lake bed by representatives from Community ORV Watch, Alliance for Responsible Recreation, and nearby property owners who are frustrated by what they describe as an ongoing turf war with off-roaders who stream into the area, especially on holiday weekends. The claims are corroborated by tire tracks that fan out from legal, designated routes on the lake bed in all directions, traversing distant dunes and foothills and into nearby rural communities, a clear violation. At issue is dust, noise, trespass, and destruction of natural habitat and wildlife linkages. What is immediately obvious is that off-roaders cannot reasonably be expected to follow designated routes when there exists no signage. Phil Klasky of Community ORV Watch suggests, “With informational kiosks … riders can see … where they can and cannot ride and a statement of the law and the penalties and the fines associated with illegal riding.”


The FBI is investigating allegations of mistreatment of inmates at the West Valley Detention Center by members of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. Sheriff John McMahon has ordered an internal investigation. Wednesday, March 5, the Sheriff’s command staff received information regarding the possible misconduct and immediately launched an investigation. Department officials learned of a similar inquiry by the Federal Bureau of Investigations. At this time, according to a Sheriff’s release, the Sheriff’s Department and the FBI are in full cooperation in order to ensure a comprehensive investigation is completed. The FBI is the primary investigative agency in regard to any possible criminal charges. As of April 8, three deputies assigned to the West Valley Detention Center are no longer employed by the Sheriff’s Department. The law prohibits the release of details regarding personnel investigations and the Sheriff’s Department can not release the names of involved parties.


Local entertainers are being sought for the upcoming Yucca Valley Grubstake Days Community Fair. Managing Editor Tami Roleff tells you how to be on the stage…
Entertainers young and old, large and small are being sought for this year’s Grubstake Days Community Fair. The event, hosted by Hi-Desert Publishing, Z107.7 Radio, the Basin-Wide Foundation and the Town of Yucca Valley, is set for Saturday, May 24, at the Hi-Desert Boys and Girls Club and Brehm Youth Park grounds on Little League Drive in Yucca Valley. Continuous family entertainment will be offered on the Main Stage from 11 until 5. If you can sing a song, juggle, have a band, or just want to tell some jokes, you can be a part of Grubstake Days Community Fair. To sign up, call Gary Daigneault at Z107.7 radio, 760-366-8471.


A Twentynine Palms-area man is over $190,000 richer today after a Saturday night jackpot at the new Tortoise Rock Casino. Mykal Winn, a well-known artist from Wonder Valley, won the jackpot on a 25-cent slot machine at the new Twentynine Palms Casino. Winn said he was given a cash payout that night and will decide whether to a take a lump sum payout of the balance, minus the taxes, or payments over 20 years.


Artist of the month at Desert Hills Presbyterian Church is Shirley James. A member of Chaparral Artists Guild, James focuses on miniature oil paintings and pyrography. Her artwork will be on display through May 1. Desert Hills Presbyterian Church is located at 56750 Mountain View Trail in Yucca Valley.


Fun seasonal activity for the kids this coming Saturday. Reporter Taylor Thacker invites you to egg-dying at the Twentynine Palms Library…
Have an eggs-traordinary time at the Twentynine Palms Library’s Egg-travaganza this month. Join the fun at the Twentynine Palms library on Saturday, April 19, between 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. You will have the opportunity to design your very own egg! Bring your own hard boiled eggs and all other supplies will be provided. Dress for mess. This free program is open to the public and all ages are welcome. Plan to have an eggs-tremely fun time! For more information call 760-367-9519.


Coming up in high school sports tomorrow, the Twentynine Palms High School Wildcat baseball and softball teams will travel away to Thermal to play the Desert Mirage Rams. Both games start at 3:30. The Wildcat golf team will travel away to Indio to play Shadow Hills High School; tee time is 2:45.

Also tomorrow, the Yucca Valley High School Trojan baseball and softball teams will host the Desert Hot Springs Golden Eagles at home. Both games start at 3:15.

And finally tomorrow, the Trojan golf team will travel to Big Bear High School; tee off is at 3 p.m.