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California man identified as one of 4 killed in wrong-way crash

Updated January 14, 2022 - 10:52 am

The Clark County coroner’s office on Friday identified the third of four people killed in a wrong-way crash on Interstate 15 near Jean Monday.

Enrique Jose Ruiz, 59, of Fontana, California, died when a red Cadillac traveling the wrong way in the southbound lanes of I-15 collided with a Toyota pickup at about 6 p.m., causing the truck to burst into flames.

Also killed in the crash were Shahriar Khodadadi, 39, of Santa Monica, California, and Erica Morell, 37, of Henderson. The name of the fourth person killed hasn’t been released yet by the coroner’s office.

Three of the deceased were in the truck and one was in the Cadillac. On Friday night, Nevada State Police confirmed that Morell was the driver of the Cadillac.

Khodadadi worked as a technician with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and worked as a records technician with the Santa Monica Police Department from 2007 to 2015. Santa Monica police Capt. Thomas McLaughlin said Friday afternoon that Khodadadi was known to his friends as “Shawn” and that he was a highly admired professional when he worked at the police department.

“Shawn was a great guy, very helpful to all of our employees here,” McLaughlin said. “If you were a detective he was always willing to help out when he could.”

McLaughlin said police stayed in touch with Khodadadi after he left to work for the transportation authority.

“Even though he left us, a part of his heart was here,” McLaughlin said. “It is terrible news. So sad. A young guy with a really bright future. Just terribly tragic.”

A woman who answered the phone at Khodadadi’s California residence Friday morning identified herself as Khodadadi’s mother. The woman, who did not give her name, said she was too grief-stricken to grant an interview. She did say her son was “very respected” and was giving two laborers a ride to Las Vegas out of kindness at the time of the crash because they did not have transportation. She did not provide further details before the phone call disconnected.

Contact Glenn Puit by email at gpuit@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter.

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