UPDATE: One Dead in Crash on I-210

The driver of a hot rod lost control and eventually struck a light pole.

A 62-year-old car dealership employee was killed this morning when a man he was escorting on a test drive lost control of the vehicle.

The crash was reported at 10:25 a.m. today. California Highway Patrol officials said 70-year-old Dennis Tessenske, of Mesa, Ariz., was test driving a 1926 Ford Hot Rod accompanied by Benny Tachdjian, 62, of La Verne, an employee of a local car dealership.

Tessenske was driving eastbound on Interstate 210, east of Towne Avenue in Claremont. He was traveling between 40 to 45 miles per hour in a slow lane, CHP officials said.

For reasons still under investigation, investigators said Tessenske lost control of the vehicle and the vehicle swerved to the right, in an easterly direction, struck the concrete curb, and slammed into a light pole.

The vehicle did not come equipped with seatbelts, so neither man was secured in the hot rod. Tessenske was partially ejected. Tachdjian was thrown from the car and struck his head on the rock and concrete on the right shoulder, officials said.  

Tachdjian was taken to Pomona Valley Hospital where he died at 11:44 a.m.   Tessenske was treated at the same hospital for a complaint of pain to his neck and back, officials said.

A Sig alert was issued and the right lanes and Towne Avenue offramp of the freeway were closed for about an hour and a half, officials said. All lanes were opened just before 12:30 p.m.

According to his social media pages, Tachdjian was an avid fan of classic cars and listed his work on his Facebook page as "hanging out with hot rods."

CHP investigators with the Baldwin Park Area office are still investigating and ask anyone with information o the crash to call during business hours at (626) 338-1164 or after hours through the Los Angeles Communication Center at (323) 982-4900.

Carol Kastelic July 03, 2012 at 02:23 PM
My husband worked with Ben here in Ohio. I had the pleasure of spending some quiet time on our porch a few years back. I enjoyed getting to know him and learning about his family which he was very proud of. He had so many kind words to say about people we had both come in contact with. He also shared great receipes with us! He will be missed, My condolences to his family. You are in our thoughts and prayers at this most difficult time.
LD July 03, 2012 at 09:19 PM
Laurie, Thanks for your comments. Please consider contacting Baldwin Park office of the CHP, (626) 338-1164.
Bondini July 04, 2012 at 10:07 PM
Now that you are wearing a new type of wings, please wrap them around our children and grandchildren...and me, and help us with the strength to get through this and go forward in life. We feel so lost already and life will never be the same with you gone. I love you and I will miss you always.
Buckeye Sam July 05, 2012 at 11:42 PM
A group of us in Chagrin Falls, Ohio were lucky to have met Benny through a friend. Benny joined us during the 2009 and 2010 football seasons when the Chagrin Falls High School football team played in two state championship games. He was a great guy who instantly made friends with all he came in contact with. We are all very sorry that this happened but, console ourselves with the fact that we were able to call Benny a friend. Our condolences go out to his family and friends. Sam & Brenda Chagrin Falls, Ohio
Lorie Mason July 06, 2012 at 06:34 AM
The shock of this horrific event has still not sunk in with this family. His son Josh & daughter Chicky just arrived in town last night.  Benny Tachdjian was/is a caring individual & wanted only the best for everyone he came in contact with. He always made everything better with him just being around!!!!  Words cannot describe the emptiness that WE are ALL experiencing.  This came 10 months after loosing their other brother Matt Tachdjian.  Please everyone keep this family in your prayers. They truly need it getting through these next couple weeks & the time ahead of them.  I can tell you they greatly appreciate all the incoming calls & cards they're receiving.  Keep them coming as it does help cope during this hard time!  Thank God for Uncles, Aunts, Cousins & all other extended family.  XO All my love Uncle Benny,  Lorie - family member by association


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