CLEARLAKE OAKS, LAKE COUNTY – An accident caused by an apparent road rage incident resulted a vehicle rollover with a 4-year-old girl inside, fortunately tightly fastened into her car seat, no doubt scared to death, but otherwise unharmed.
Last Wednesday, at 2:30 in the afternoon, a white SUV was involved in an accident that resulted in it lying on its roof along Highway 20 near Keys Boulevard. A Sheriff’s deputy leaving the Clearlake Oaks substation saw the car and immediately requested assistance from the Fire Department and Highway Patrol. The deputy, who had not seen what caused the accident, quickly offered support to the driver, who said his daughter was still in her car seat. The man was able to removed the girl, who had apparently suffered no injuries. Arriving medical personnel were able to examine both the man and girl on the scene.
According to Steve Brooks of the Lake County Sheriff’s Department, the driver told the deputy that he had been hit by another vehicle on purpose, which caused his car to roll over. The deputy and arriving CHP officers interviewed other witnesses about the accident, and learned that it was an older pickup truck which had struck the car several times as they both traveled east on Highway 20. One witnesses said that the truck hit it, and then kept pushing it until it rolled over several times.
Armed with a description of the truck, a Highway Patrol officer had located the suspect truck and detained the driver, 65-year-old Eric Vonrenegar of Clearlake. The deputy responded to the scene and contacted the suspect. Vonrenegar denied that he caused the accident, or even had contact with the SUV, but he did state that “That guy got what he deserved”. The deputy examined the pickup – an older model Dodge with black front fenders and a white utility bed. There were numerous white paint chips on the front bumper that appeared to be evidence of the collision with the rolled over SUV.
Vonrenegar has a history of run-ins with the law. Just last month, on Valentines day, he was arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance. He was due in court today to face those charges.
According to a story on the website Stand Up For California!, in 2008, he was arrested while already on parole when he was found in possession of explosive devices. That report says that he was seen intoxicated in the Robinson Rancheria Casino parking lot, and that investigating deputies found home-made explosive devices in his truck. He claimed they were not his, and that he was just holding them until he found the real owner. It also turned out he was not intoxicated as it had appeared, but he was arrested for possessing the explosives and for a felony parole violation. In 2009 he was again charged with possession of a destructive device, reckless driving and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Earlier arrests reported in the media include a 2004 arrest for possession of controlled substance for use and sale, along with being under the influence. In 2005 he was charged with obstructing/resisting arrest and a parole violation. All these arrests occurred in and around Lake County.
Vonrenegar was booked once again at the Hill Road Correctional Facility on charges of assault with a deadly weapon for this latest incident.
Stand Up for California: Man found with homemade explosives arrested
Lake County News (Photo of accident): Clearlake man arrested for Wednesday road rage incident that caused vehicle rollover