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.