A 20-year-old Long Beach man, apparently visiting Mammoth Lakes and then on his way home, lost control of his car and died when the vehicle slammed into a tree just off Highway 395.
It was close to 11 Saturday morning when Rafael Contreras, 20, of Long Beach, was at the wheel of a 1994 Honda, southbound on 395 south of Mill Creek Road. The Highway Patrol said Contreras allowed his car to move to the left and onto the left shoulder. Officers said he turned the Honda to the right, back toward the roadway, and lost control.
The Honda veered across both lanes of southbound 395 and onto the west shoulder. The car traveled down a slight embankment on the west shoulder and struck a tree. The car literally wrapped around the tree, killing Contreras.
Coroner Leon Brune said that he believes Contreras had a relative in Mammoth Lakes and was on his way home. Brune’s office notified the Los Angeles Coroner who notified the young man’s mother and stepfather in Long Beach. Not much is known about Contreras, although Brune said that he attended Long Beach City College.
Services for Contreras will be held in the Long Beach area.