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Local News

Goleta World War II Veteran Dies After He and His Wife Are Struck by a Car in Palm Springs

Robert Mathiasen and wife were to attend a weekend reunion of the 100th Bomb Group at Palm Springs Air Museum

A World War II veteran from Goleta died Friday after he was struck by a car during a veterans reunion weekend in Palm Springs. His wife was injured in the collision and remains hospitalized in critical condition.

News reports say Goleta residents Robert Mathiasen, 87, and his wife, Lorraine, 83, were struck as they walked across North Palm Canyon Drive in Palm Springs on Friday evening.

According to the Riverside County Coroner’s Office, Mathiasen was pronounced dead at nearby Desert Regional Medical Center about two hours after the 7:30 p.m. Friday collision.

The Desert Sun newspaper said Sunday that Lorraine Mathiasen remained in critical condition in the hospital’s intensive-care unit.

The Mathiasens were in Palm Springs to attend Saturday’s 100th Bomb Group (Heavy) reunion at the Palm Springs Air Museum, the Desert Sun reported. The newspaper said Mathiasen was a B-17 Flying Fortress ball turret gunner and completed 30 missions while serving with the 418th Bomb Squadron in 1943 and 1944.

Palm Springs police said the cause of the collision is under investigation and that the driver of the car, a Ford Taurus, was assisting officers. Police say alcohol and drugs do not appear to be factors in the collision.

Noozhawk publisher Bill Macfadyen can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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