Campus, Long Beach, News

CSULB staff member killed in Downtown Long Beach vehicle collision

Cal State Long Beach employee Rodger Lee Watkins was found dead by police at the scene of a fatal car crash on Tuesday night.

A 31-year-old Long Beach resident was driving their 2012 Lexus IS250 northbound on Atlantic Avenue when they broadsided 60-year-old Watkins in his 2012 Ford Focus traveling eastbound on Anaheim Street. The cars collided at the street intersection.

The force of the crash caused both drivers to lose control, according to the Long Beach Police Department’s preliminary investigation. The Ford struck the traffic light as well as an abandoned building. The Lexus struck a bus bench. Both the building and bench are located on the northeast corner of the intersection.

Police officers responded to the collision around 11:48 p.m. shortly before finding the victim trapped inside his vehicle. Officials of the Long Beach Fire Department declared Watkins dead upon arrival.

The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner responded to the scene, later confirming Watkins’ identity. Deputy Medical Examiner Dr. Raffi Djabourian determined the victim’s cause of death was multiple blunt force trauma.

LBPD Public Information Officer Richard Mejia said detectives have not officially stated the sex of the 31-year-old driver.

“The driver was released from the hospital. We don’t know when, but it was sometime between when the incident occurred and today,” Mejia said.

Watkins was an active member of the CSULB campus community working as a custodian for Beach Building Services, as well as a steward for the Long Beach Chapter of the California State University Employees Union.

Neither Beach Building Services employees nor CSUEU Long Beach Chapter stewards responded to the Daily Forty Niner’s request for comment.

Authorities said the Lexus driver was cooperative with the investigation as they remained at the scene before being transported to a local hospital to treat their non-lethal injuries.

The collision investigation is ongoing, and investigators are considering potential factors such as speed, distracted driving and impaired driving as the cause of the collision. However, the state of the Lexus driver during the collision is still unknown.

This story will be updated as more details of the investigation are provided.

Comments are closed.

Daily 49er newsletter