Convicted Felon to Stand Trial for Highway Explosion and Vandalism in Rancho Mirage

RANCHO MIRAGE, CA – A judge in Riverside County ruled that a convicted felon, Jason Edward Hershey, must stand trial for his alleged involvement in igniting an explosive device that caused damage along a highway in Rancho Mirage. Hershey, 50, was apprehended in 2021 following an extensive investigation into an explosion that took place on Halloween 2020.

During a preliminary hearing, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Kristi Hester found enough evidence to proceed with trial on charges of using a destructive device and vandalism. Hershey’s arraignment is scheduled for May 23 at the Larson Justice Center in Indio. The defendant, currently out on his own recognizance, faces serious felony counts.

Hershey’s accomplice, Michael Henry Hardisty, already pleaded guilty to the same charges in 2022 and was sentenced to six years in state prison. The explosion that occurred in October 2020 along Highway 111 caused debris to scatter across multiple traffic lanes, though luckily no motorists sustained injuries.

Law enforcement authorities, including sheriff’s detectives, FBI agents, and ATF personnel, were deeply involved in the investigation that ultimately led to the arrest of the defendants in May 2021. No specific motive has been disclosed regarding the explosion, leaving questions surrounding the incident unanswered.

Records reveal Hershey’s criminal background, including prior convictions for offenses such as receiving stolen property, burglary, and possession of controlled substances. The case highlights the importance of thorough investigative work to hold individuals accountable for their actions, especially in cases of potential harm to the community.