Cal Fire Unit Chief from Beaumont Involved in Fatal Collision

Unit Chief Tim McClelland sustained minor injuries the collision, which occurred on the 210 Freeway near Del Rosa Avenue, north of Redlands, according to Cal Fire and the California Highway Patrol.

The Cal Fire Unit Chief for San Bernardino, Inyo and Mono counties was involved a three-vehicle collision Wednesday that resulted in the death of a Banning man, a Cal Fire spokesman in Sacramento confirmed Friday.

Unit Chief Tim McClelland, 48, of Beaumont, was not on his way to a call when the collision occurred on the 210 Freeway near Del Rosa Avenue, north of Redlands, Cal Fire spokesman spokesman Daniel Berlant said in a phone interview.

McClelland suffered minor injuries, and there was "no reason he would not be able to return to work," Berlant said.

The California Highway Patrol is leading the investigation of the collision, Berlant said.

Gregory Kirwin, 48, of Banning, was in the collision, which was reported just after 5 p.m. Aug. 1 on Interstate 210 west of Del Rosa Avenue, according to the coroner.

When California Highway Patrol officers arrived they found three eastbound vehicles involved in a traffic collision, a coroner's statement said.

Investigators with the CHP determined Kenneth Bietz, 51, of Yucaipa was driving a silver 2003 Chevrolet Impala east on the 210, west of Del Rosa, and he was slowing due to traffic ahead, CHP Officer Mario Lopez said in a statement.

Kirwin was driving a red 2001 Ford Focus east in the same lane and was approaching the Chevrolet Impala at an unknown speed, Lopez said.

McClelland was driving a white Cal Fire 2005 Chevrolet 1500 pickup east on the 210 and he was in the process of moving into the same lane as he approached the red Ford Focus, Lopez said.

"McClelland's vehicle collided with the rear of the Ford Focus," Lopez said. "It has not been determined if the Ford Focus collided with the Chevrolet Impala prior to or after the collision with the Chevrolet 1500 pickup. Unfortunately, the male driver of the red Ford Focus was pronounced deceased at the scene."

Both Bietz and McClelland sustained minor injuries due to the collision, Lopez said.

McClelland's truck sustained "major damage," Berlant said. The Cal Fire San Bernardino-Inyo-Mono Unit headquarters is at 3800 N. Sierra Way, in San Bernardino.

The collision was being investigated by the CHP's Inland Division Multi-Disciplinary Accident Investigation Team. Any witnesses to the collision were urged to call the Inland Communication Center at (909) 428-5400.

McClelland has worked more than 30 years for Cal Fire. He started as a volunteer firefighter in Sun City in 1981, and worked his way up to battalion chief in the Riverside Unit by 2001.

He was promoted to assistant chief at Cal Fire South Region Southern Operations Center in Riverside in October 2003, the month the Old and Grand Prix fires devastated southwest San Bernardino County.

In 2009, McClelland was also incident commander during the Oak Glen III and Pendleton fires that threatened hundred of homes in Oak Glen and Yucaipa.

The 210, formerly known as the 330, terminates in Redlands.

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