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Winchester Man Dies In Off-Roading Crash

The California Highway Patrol said two men, ages 80 and 74, were driving their Jeep on a dirt road near Highway 74, east of Hemet, when they crashed.

Editor's Note: This post was updated at 6:10 p.m. Feb. 21 with information regarding the identity of the deceased.

A Winchester man who was part of one of the Valley's earliest families was killed Thursday in a car crash in the mountains near Hemet and Idyllwild after plummeting down an embankment and landing in a ravine, CHP reports indicate.

The accident happened around 9 a.m. on an unnamed dirt U.S. Forestry fire road off of Highway 74, east of Hemet, headed up to the Idyllwild area, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Darren Meyer.

Robert Domenigoni, 74, of Winchester, suffered fatal injuries, and died at the scene, according to the Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner's Office. Domenigoni was wearing his seatbelt when the crash occurred, according to the report.

The driver, identified as 80-year-old William Rohrbacher of Hemet, was steering a Jeep Cherokee down the road when he crashed at a turn, according to Meyer.

"Rohrbacher was driving at an unsafe speed as he negotiated a curve in the dirt road," Meyer said in a CHP report. "Rohrbacher lost control of the Jeep and ran off the road, down an embankment and into a ravine."

Rohrbacher was airlifed to Riverside Regional Medical Center with injuries described as "moderate," Meyer said.

Officer Meyer added that the fire road was in "poor condition due to the recent winter storms."

The incident remains under investigation.

Domenigoni, who went by Bob, was a fourth-generation member of the Domenigoni family, who were early settlers of Winchester when Angelo Domenigoni immigrated to the U.S. from Switzerland in the late 1800s. Angelo Sr. was Bob's great-grandfather, a source close to the family said.

JJ February 22, 2013 at 03:17 AM
How sad! I will prayer for both families of these adventurous elderly men :(
Brenda February 22, 2013 at 10:00 AM
Lord me too JJ and doing what they probably loved for years!! My dad is 73 and off roaded for fun and also professional off road raced along with my brother. They have gotten a bit broken up and full of arthritis to do much anymore but they do get on the motorcycles or a jeep or one of their trucks sometimes and go and put put around. :) These ole gentlemen were doing what they loved and I hope the family and friends can find some solace in that for the gentleman who died. He is rocking and rolling on clouds now.
guardian angel February 25, 2013 at 12:01 AM
Bob Domenigoni was one of the best people in the world. He always had a smile & a wave to all he passed as he was traveling the roads of Winchester, picking up illegally dumped trash and such and keeping our community clean & nice as he could. He was sweet & kind person and he will be sorely missed in our community. God speed Bob. (and Bill was not traveling fast, as the CHP makes it sound. He was traveling at a slow rate of speed but the road just wasn't safe and caused him to lose control of the vehicle.)
Will March 01, 2013 at 05:31 AM
Im a winchester native and work on the farm across from the domenigonis, they are all great people and Robert will be missed.

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