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Death Valley worker dies in crash

DEATH VALLEY, Calif. — A gofundme account has been established for the family of a Death Valley National Park employee who died following a vehicle crash there late last month.

According to a recent national park news release, Rigoberto “RJ” Avina, 28, of Pahrump, died in the single-vehicle crash at Death Valley National Park on May 26.

Avina had worked in the maintenance department for close to three years.

He was not on duty at the time of the crash, which occurred on CA-190, officials said.

Park Superintendent Mike Reynolds described Avina as a smart young man with a bright future. “I will miss his smile and we all grieve for his family’s loss,” Reynolds said in the release. “RJ’s passing leaves a hole in our community’s heart.”

Angela Ruiz established the gofundme account, which has raised at present, roughly $9,583 toward a goal of $11,000.

The account is posted under the heading: Help Bring RJ Home, Support for Vangie and Kids.

“He left behind my niece, and his two sons Izaiah 5, and Elijah 3,” Ruiz said. “He was an amazing husband and father. His wife Vangela and kids were his world. He loved to take the boys fishing and camping and to Disneyland. He would light up a room with just his presence. We love him with all our hearts and he will forever be missed,” Ruiz said.

Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at sharris@pvtimes.com, or on X: @pvtimes

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