CHP Still Investigating Crash That Led To Reservoir Fire

Residents of Hacienda Drive west of Encanto Parkway prepare to evacuate as firefighters work on the Fish Fire Monday, June 20. Photo by Aaron Castrejon.

Authorities are continuing to investigate the cause of the crash that ignited the Reservoir Fire which is still burning in the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument.

Coroner investigators are examining the body. The driver of the truck that crashed has yet to be identified, according to Lt. David Smith of the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner.

“The victim has not yet been identified because the Coroner is waiting on dental records for ID. They have a suspicion on the ID but until the Coroner is 100 percent certain they won’t release his ID,” said Sgt. Mike Maehr of the California Highway Patrol.

According to the CHP collision report, the crash occurred on southbound Highway 39 around 10:45 a.m. at mile marker 20.65 June 20.

For unknown reasons, the vehicle veered to the left and collided into the side of the descending mountain. The vehicle continued down the mountainside and came to a rest on its wheels, according to the collision report.

The driver became trapped in his vehicle, which ignited and became fully engulfed. The driver suffered fatal injuries due to the fire, the CHP said.

The male driver was the only occupant of the vehicle.

A woman took to Twitter June 21, asking for help in searching for her brother who was reportedly last seen in the area where the fire started Monday.

Mike SpenglerThe woman, who identified herself as Rebecca Robinson, asked for help in locating Mike Spengler, owner of Azusa business Jump Connection. Robinson later claimed Spengler was the driver of the truck that crashed.

The family is asking for privacy, Robinson told GCN.

The San Gabriel Complex fires have burned 5,235 acres and is now 15 percent contained. The Reservoir Fire alone has burned 1,200 acres.

Residents in the Azusa communities of Mountain Cove are being allowed into their neighborhoods with the help of police escorts to retrieve essential belongings between 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday.

At 12 p.m., Duarte residents with identification who live in the Las Lomas neighborhoods will be able to return home, including those evacuated from the streets of Vineyard Avenue up to Willowglen Drive, Las Lomas Road up to Willowglen Drive and Woodbluff Avenue to Starpine Drive, Sheriff’s deputies said.