UPDATE: Hit and run Hemet rollover injures 5, suspect quickly captured

A two vehicle rollover traffic collision temporarily trapped several
victims from a black Honda Civic that sheared off a fire hydrant. Will Whelan photo

Firefighters and paramedics tend to the injured from the hit and run traffic collision. Ricardo Ruelas photo

Firefighters and paramedics tend to the injured from the hit and run traffic collision. Ricardo Ruelas photo

HEMET – A major injury, hit and run, rollover traffic collision occurred July 10, at about 2:13 p.m., at the intersection of Florida Avenue and Columbia Street. The collision left five people temporarily trapped in a vehicle that rolled onto its’ side and sheared off a fire hydrant, causing a geyser of water to spew into the air.

The vehicle that rolled into the fire hydrant was described as a black Honda Civic. The other vehicle was described as a white Lexus.

The five injured subjects inside the Honda included four adults and one child, according to Hemet Police Lieutenant Jeff Davis. The injured victims’ ages ranged from 10 to 30-years-old. All of the victims from the Honda sustained injuries ranging from moderate to severe, according to Davis.

The accident was reported to City of Hemet emergency dispatchers by multiple 911 callers. Witnesses told dispatchers that despite causing the collision that involved a vehicle that was occupied by a family, the driver of the Lexus had fled the scene on foot.

The man who fled the scene was described as a black male adult, wearing a white tank top and black shorts. He was later apprehended and identified as Alexander Louis Townsend, 53, of Colton.

Firefighters and paramedics tend to the injured from the hit and run traffic collision. Ricardo Ruelas photo

Firefighters and paramedics tend to the injured from the hit and run traffic collision. Ricardo Ruelas photo

Ten minutes after the hit and run accident, at about 2:23 p.m., a firefighter on-scene requested Mercy Air to the location and called for the closure of all lanes of traffic along Florida Avenue near Columbia Street. However, due to the helicopter’s extended flying time from Victorville, Mercy Air was cancelled and the five injured subjects from the rolled Honda were transported by ground ambulances to local area hospitals.

The worst of the injured was reported to have sustained a broken femur, broken ribs and a punctured lung. “Other victim’s injuries included, but were not limited to, an open compound fracture to the leg, fractured shoulder, and a fractured knee,” according to Davis.

While Hemet Fire and AMR personnel tended to those injured in the collision, Hemet Police officers began searching for Townsend.

At about 2:28 p.m., following witness statements and directions, officers tracked Townsend to the back corner of a parking lot and dirt field behind a medical center in the 2300 block of East Florida Avenue.

Numerous motorists stopped to help the victims of the rollover traffic collision.

Numerous motorists stopped to help the victims of the rollover traffic collision.

Twelve minutes after the hit and run was first dispatched, pursuing officers had Townsend cornered at gunpoint. Within minutes they had safely detained him without further incident.

The officers who apprehended Townsend conducted an in-field show up, at which time several witnesses positively identified him as the man who fled from the hit and run.

Because the vehicle that rolled over onto its’ side came to rest against a traffic signal, emergency first responders requested Caltrans to respond to the location to check the integrity of the pole.

Within hours of the accident, Allyisa Garcia and Kim Llamas, family members of those injured in the collision, updated that three of their family members were undergoing surgery for their various injuries.

Alexander Townsend was arrested after fleeing from a rollover traffic collision.

Alexander Townsend was arrested after fleeing from a rollover traffic collision.

“The cause of the collision is still under investigation to include whether or not intoxication was a factor,” according to Davis.

“Townsend is currently on Post Community Release Supervision out of Los Angeles County for robbery. He was arrested for leaving the scene of an injury traffic collision and enhancements regarding inflicting great bodily injuries and prior serious and violent felony convictions,” Davis wrote in a press release.

Townsend was transported to the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning where he remains in custody on $285,000 bail, according to Davis.

 

 

 

Witnesses to the hit and run helped officer track down and locate the suspect in the hit and run.

Witnesses to the hit and run helped officer track down and locate the suspect in the hit and run.

Then hit and run suspect was cornered and apprehended behind a medical office facility. Adrian Saldana photo

With help from the public and eyewitnesses, Hemet Police officers were able to quickly track and apprehend the hit and run suspect. Adrian Saldaña photo

With help from the public and eyewitnesses, Hemet Police officers were able to quickly track and apprehend the hit and run suspect. Adrian Saldana photo

Hemet Police officers apprehend the hit and run suspect in a parking lot behind a medical facility. Adrian Saldaña photo

 

This is a breaking story. Updates will be provided as they become available.

 

Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

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One comment

  • Susan Kaitukoff

    Thank goodness they caught this idiot! Now we can only hope he goes to jail for at least 3-1/2 days… That seems to be how our modern justice system works… The cops put their lives on the line and then the courts let them go…

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