Man driving stolen car killed in crash on Hwy 74, officials say
UPDATED #3 03/29/2016 11:45 p.m.
On-Scene Photographer: Aric Bell / Hemet Valley Incidents
On-Scene Videographer: Eddie George / Hemet Eye News
A man attempting to flee from law enforcement officers in a stolen car died in a violent crash on Tuesday, March 29. The fatal traffic collision occurred at the intersection of Florida Avenue and Four Seasons Boulevard, between Hemet and Homeland.
The accident was so severe, California Highway Patrol officers initially called for the closure of all lanes of Florida Avenue, while officers conduct an accident investigation. One eastbound lane of Florida Avenue was later opened.
The crash destroyed the stolen vehicle and caused major damage to a pickup truck that the car smashed into. The accident left mangled car parts and debris strewn across the entire roadway.
The driver of the truck, identified as Leonel Aguirre, 25, of Long Beach, was airlifted to Riverside University Health System Medical Center in Moreno Valley. He sustained multiple fractures, CHP officials said.
The incident that led to the fatal collision began about 12:25 p.m., according to Officer Darren Meyer, public information officer for CHP.
Law enforcement officers saw a gold sedan stopped in the middle of Truelson Avenue. As officers approached the vehicle, they saw it did not have license plates on it and they saw what appeared to be an unconscious person in the driver’s seat, according to Meyer.
Officers attempted to make contact with the driver, to determine if he needed medical attention, however the vehicle’s doors were locked. While the officers knocked on the vehicle’s windows and attempted to wake the driver, they reportedly saw drug paraphernalia in the car.
As the officers continued to try to get the man’s attention, he suddenly woke up, Meyer said. When the man saw officers outside his vehicle, he immediately fled the area, first driving southbound on Truelson Avenue, before turning left onto eastbound Florida Avenue.
Before officers could turn around to pursue the car, they lost sight of it, Meyer said. As the officers attempted to find the car, they came upon debris from the collision strewn across the roadway along Florida Avenue at Four Seasons Blvd.
The damage to the stolen car was so severe, the driver’s arm was severed, Meyer said. He was taken to Hemet Valley Medical Center, where he succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead.
A preliminary investigation conducted by CHP officers indicated the driver of the gold car, who has only been identified as a 33 to 34-year-old male, lost control of the stolen vehicle he was driving. Witness statements and evidence at the scene of the fatal collision indicated the driver lost control after he attempted to pass a vehicle at a high rate of speed. After veering into the westbound lanes of Florida Avenue, the stolen car collided nearly head-on with the pickup truck.
After the accident, witnesses took to social media, sharing photographs and first-hand accounts of what they had seen. One witness described seeing family members of the man killed in the collision running from their home near the accident down a hill above the roadway to be with their loved one. Others posted photographs of the fatal accident and subsequent investigation.
Those who saw the aftermath of the accident and others who saw pictures of the collision scene expressed a sense of shock after the second fatal traffic collision to occur in the same general area, on the same day. The other deadly traffic accident occurred at about 3:30 a.m., on Ramona Expressway and Lakeview Avenue, in the unincorporated area of Nuevo.
This story is developing. Check back for updates.
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