The Desert IndependentTM

Serving Blythe and the Desert Regions of the Southwest Since 2001


Ford Expedition Drives into Building

August 11, 2016

BLYTHE, Calif At about 11:53 AM Blythe Police received a 911 call reporting a traffic collision at Frye Chapel, 633 N. Seventh Street. The caller reported a vehicle had run into the business causing major damage. When officers arrived they discovered a Silver 1999 Ford Expedition had struck and knocked down a pillar in front of the business and continued driving through the chapel wall. The Expedition drove about 40 feet into the chapel, destroying several rows of pews and other furnishings.

The driver of the vehicle, 21 year old Brian Iopu Jr. remained at the scene. Iopu Jr. sustained minor injuries during the crash and Blythe Ambulance responded for treatment.

During the investigation Officers learned that Iopu Jr. had been driving the Expedition southbound on Seventh Street, when for reasons still under investigation, he veered to the left and collided with the chain link fence bordering the Palo Verde Irrigation District canal. The vehicle continued southbound knocking down about 150 feet of chain link fencing before turning back to the right, jumping the west curb line. The Expedition continued westbound where it then collided with Frye Chapel.

The cause of the accident is still under investigation, however Police believe alcohol was a factor.

Iopu Jr. was taken to Palo Verde Hospital by ambulance for treatment and later released.

Persons charged with a crime are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Anyone with information regarding this case, or any other crime, is urged to contact Blythe Police Department at 922-6111, or they can give their information anonymously by calling Crime Stop at 921-CARE (2273) or by E-Mail.

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