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Paul Rivas, Former Hart District Official Dies In Car Wreck

Paul Rivas, a former Hart official, died Monday in a car crash on Highway 138. He was 51.

Rivas was traveling eastbound on Highway 138 in a 2001 Dodge Ram pickup truck when the vehicle he was driving swerved into the westbound lane and collided head on with a big rig driven by Clarence Bonam, 44, of Adelanto, near 140th Street, shortly after 10 a.m.

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Rivas worked for the William S. Hart Union High School District for several years, according to Hart district officials.

Rivas was an invaluable resource for the district as a leader of modernization projects at several different schools, said district board member Gloria Mercado-Fortine.

“He began with modernization at Arroyo Seco -- we ran into some problems with that project, and we ran into the project costing us much more than we had anticipated and Paul stepped up to the plate and he got us out of a lot of problems with our whole modernization plan,” Mercado-Fortine said.

He was a resource on older projects and he helped with new construction, as well, she said.

“I have always admired Paul Rivas. He was a gentle giant, a big man, with a big heart, he cared a lot about kids and the staff at various schools,” Mercado-Fortine said. “He works so well with the administration and the teachers.”

“Arroyo Seco, Placerita, Hart High School, Saugus High School, Canyon High School,” Mercado-Fortine said, listing the projects he worked on. “He even helped us with the new schools because he was so savvy.”

The collision ruptured the fuel tanks of Bonam’s truck, spilling roughly 180 gallons of fuel on the road, and leaving Bonam with a leg injury, according to a California Highway Patrol report.