UPDATE: One driver killed in fiery, two-car wreck in Perris
UPDATED: 6/3/2016 5:30 p.m. With pictures and witness statements
PERRIS – One person has died and another suffered minor injuries in a fiery traffic collision in Perris, a fire official confirmed.
The accident happened Friday, June 3, on Highway 74 near Taylor Road in an unincorporated county area northeast of Lake Elsinore and southwest of Perris.
Emergency first responders from multiple agencies responded to the fatal wreck at 1:05 p.m., after Riverside County emergency communications dispatchers received numerous 911 calls from citizens reporting the accident.
Witnesses at the scene who saw the fatal collision told dispatchers an elderly male was trapped inside the vehicle before it ruptured into flames. They reportedly tried to pull the man from the vehicle; however, they were unable to extricate him from his car before it caught fire. One man said he had checked the victim for a pulse before the fire started and was unable to find one.
Upon arrival, firefighters, paramedics, and law enforcement personnel found a small four-door car fully engulfed in flames. The other vehicle, a white four-door SUV sustained heavy damage to the front driver’s side.
Firefighters worked to extinguish the car fire while paramedics evaluated and treated the driver from the SUV. Paramedics transported the driver of the SUV by ground ambulance to a local area hospital for further treatment.
Once firefighters had put out the blaze, they were able to confirm the driver from inside the vehicle succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene, Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Public Information Officer Jennifer Fuhrman wrote in a press release.
Michelle Lewis, a witness from the scene of the fatal collision, described the chaotic incident.
“My daughter and I were heading home on Highway 74 when we noticed a large plume of black smoke coming from a car in the middle of the roadway,” Lewis explained. “Within moments, traffic was fully stopped in both directions.”
“Citizens were helping the people in the white SUV and the other vehicle was fully engulfed in fire,” Lewis said.
Lewis spoke to a person at the scene who witnessed the accident who told her that he and another man tried to pull the fatally injured man from the wrecked car.
“He said he and the other man had attempted to help the victim before the car sparked and caught fire,” according to Lewis.
The two men reportedly found the victim “slumped over the steering wheel and he had no pulse,” Lewis said. The man described the victim as being in his 80’s.
While waiting for the arrival of fire and medical personnel, the small car suddenly erupted into flames, according to Lewis; leaving witnesses, motorists, and bystanders helpless to do anything further.
This is a developing story. More information will be added as it becomes available.
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