Thursday, March 6, 2014

Local Marine veteran Jacob Koval dies in apparent DUI hit and run

YUCCA MESA— A man was hit and killed by a suspected drunk driver Monday evening while riding his motorcycle on Buena Vista Drive.

Sheriff’s investigators say Jacob Andrew Koval, 27, of Yucca Valley, was riding his 2005 Suzuki westbound on Buena Vista Drive just after 5 p.m., when he was struck by a 2001 F-350 pickup truck driven by Ronald Svidergol, 69, of Yucca Valley.

Svidergol was headed eastbound and attempted to make a left turn at Surrey Court, in front of Koval, a sheriff’s investigation concluded. Investigators think Koval attempted to avoid the collision, but hit the front passenger side of Svidegol’s truck. Deputies and firefighters from station 42 in Yucca Mesa arrived to find Koval unconscious.

Svidergol fled the scene after the crash, but was later tracked down at his home on Buena Vista Drive. According to a sheriff’s station news release, Svidergol showed signs of being under the influence when deputies made contact with him at his home. He was arrested and is currently being held on charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and leaving the scene of a traffic collision causing death.

“They surmised that a vehicle had turned left in front of him,” Sgt. James Porter, of the Morongo Basin Sheriff’s Station, said Tuesday. “They started doing house to house checks and found a vehicle that had damage consistent with the crash.”

Koval’s wife, Christine Koval, said her husband was a Marine Corps veteran who returned from Afghanistan a little more than a year ago. The couple have a 3-year-old son.

Court records show Svidergol was arrested in January for being under the influence. He is due in Joshua Tree Superior Court Thursday morning.

Buena Vista Drive was closed to traffic Monday evening, between Surrey Court and Hilton Avenue, where the crash occurred.

The Sheriff’s Department’s Major Accident Investigation Team is investigating the crash.

Source Hi-Desert Star News

Updated 3-6-14 6:34 pm