Highway Patrol Investigating Officer-Involved Fatal Collision In 29 Palms

(May 10) TWENTYNINE PALMS — A fatal traffic collision here on April 30 involving a sheriff’s vehicle moving at a high rate of speed remains under investigation by the California Highway Patrol.
Luc Van Bui was traveling north on Encelia Ave in a Toyota Camry around 7:30 p.m. After stopping at the Encelia intersection with  Twentynine Palms Highway, Bui, 64 of Perris, pulled into the intersection and was broadsided by a sheriff’s vehicle, a 2010 Ford Crown Victoria, driven by deputy Erdem Gorgulu, who was eastbound on the highway en route to a radio call.
Multiple witnesses estimated Gogulu’s speed as at or exceeding 80 miles per hour. Witnesses said the patrol car’s lights and siren were not activated. In addition, Gorgulu’s heading and his moving downhill and out of a setting sun approaching an intersection with visibility problems combined to doom Bui, who was pronounced dead at the scene.
Gorgulu was transported by Morongo Basin Ambulance to Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs with what appeared to be a serious leg injury.
The highway from Lupine Avenue to Encelia Avenue was closed for an extended period of time while an investigation of the scene, which was later extended west to Sunrise Road, remained ongoing. Three roads in the accident perimeter were also blocked to through traffic during the morning of Wednesday, May 1.
Previously, Twentynine Palms officials asked  Caltrans to approve a traffic signal at the Twentynine Palms Highway/Encelia intersection. Caltrans rejected  the request on the basis of insufficient traffic numbers.

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