One Killed, One Hospitalized in Off-Roading Crash Near Hemet

The California Highway Patrol said two men, ages 80 and 74, were driving their Jeep on a dirt road near Highway 74, east of Hemet, when they crashed.

Editor's Note: This post was updated at 6:10 p.m. Feb. 21 with information regarding the identity of the deceased.

A Winchester man who was part of one of the Valley's earliest families was killed Thursday in a car crash in the mountains near Hemet and Idyllwild after plummeting down an embankment and landing in a ravine, CHP reports indicate.

The accident happened around 9 a.m. on an unnamed dirt U.S. Forestry fire road off of Highway 74, east of Hemet, headed up to the Idyllwild area, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Darren Meyer.

Robert Domenigoni, 74, of Winchester, suffered fatal injuries, and died at the scene, according to the Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner's Office. Domenigoni was wearing his seatbelt when the crash occurred, according to the report.

The driver, identified as 80-year-old William Rohrbacher of Hemet, was steering a Jeep Cherokee down the road when he crashed at a turn, according to Meyer.

"Rohrbacher was driving at an unsafe speed as he negotiated a curve in the dirt road," Meyer said in a CHP report. "Rohrbacher lost control of the Jeep and ran off the road, down an embankment and into a ravine."

Rohrbacher was airlifed to Riverside Regional Medical Center with injuries described as "moderate," Meyer said.

Officer Meyer added that the fire road was in "poor condition due to the recent winter storms."

The incident remains under investigation.

Domenigoni, who went by Bob, was a fourth-generation member of the Domenigoni family, who were early settlers of Winchester when Angelo Domenigoni immigrated to the U.S. from Switzerland in the late 1800s.


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