The California Highway Patrol is investigating a fatal weekend off-roading accident which killed a 24-year-old Orinda man and left four others – including a Lafayette man – injured early Saturday morning.
California Highway Patrol Public Information Officer Mike Rigby said a Jeep driven by Andrew Kruep of Orinda was on a sandy trail in the Williams Hill area, between Highway 101 and Fort Hunter Liggett in Monterey County, when the trail collapsed beneath him, rolling the Jeep more than 600 feet down an embankment and ejecting all five men.
Kruep died in hospital Saturday night. Another local man, 24-year-old Spencer Blodgett of Lafayette was treated and released and three other men: 21-year-old Miles Franklin, Sean Mullen, 22, and Darren Mullen, 25, all from San Luis Obispo, were listed in “fair” condition with “major” injuries.
Rigby said one of the men called 911 from his cell phone at about 1:50 a.m. Saturday morning, shortly after the crash was believed to have occurred. Emergency crews from the California Highway Patrol, Cal Fire and Fort Hunter Liggett responded. It was not immediately known what the men were doing on the trail at that hour, though first responders said they may have been hunting.
The California Highway Patrol is investigating the cause of the accident, declining to comment on statements made by some of the initial rescue party that there was a strong smell of alcohol at the crash site.
Reports that all five men went to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo could not be immediately confirmed, though both Kruep and Blodgett had strong ties to Lamorinda and were believed to have attended Saint Mary’s College in Moraga. Blodgett reportedly coached members of the golf team at Acalanes High School in Lafayette.