Family friends grieve for Russell Bomgardner
■ By Chris Smith / Advisory Editor
A 26-year-old Hemet man was killed Friday night, Jan. 11, when the the pickup he was driving crashed into a tree on Highway 74 about four miles east of the Cranston Fire Station, according to news reports.
Russell A. Bomgardner was identified by family and friends as the victim in the crash of a Ford Ranger that crashed into a tree on the winding mountain highway 500 feet west of Blackburn Road shortly before 10 p.m. The force of the crash knocked the tree into traffic lanes where it was hit by a second vehicle, a Honda CRV.
There were two occupants of the Honda, and one of them was later taken to an area hospital, according to news reports.Bomgardner was trapped in the mangled pickup and had to be extracted by Cal Fire using the Jaws of Life, according to Riverside County News Source.
Bomgardner, who is believed to have lived at 26880 Lake St. in Hemet, reportedly had attended Idyllwild Arts Academy and was well known in the Idyllwild community. More recently he worked as a lumberjack and tree trimmer for Pino Tree Service.
His family has set up a Go Fund Me account to help with funeral expenses. At press time, the account had $9,755.
Dozens of friends from the Hemet and Idyllwild areas left messages of condolence for Bomgardner’s family on a GoFundMe page. His death was a shock to those who had grown up with him, and his loss affected them deeply. He was very well liked by many area residents who had attended school, worked with, and known him over the years.