UPDATED: HEMET: Three minors injured in wreck during stolen vehicle pursuit
UPDATE: May 10, 4 p.m.
City of Hemet police officials provided updated information regarding the condition of the three teenagers who were injured when a stolen vehicle they were fleeing from police in smashed backwards into a tree at high-speed. The major-injury collision left at least one of the three young car thief’s with serious, traumatic injuries.
“All three occupants of the vehicle were transported to a local hospital where one is listed in critical condition and the other two are in stable condition,” officials explained in a written press release the morning after the wreck.
During their investigation, officers determined that all three occupants of the vehicle were juveniles and that the driver is 15 years old.
Officers are still working to determine if the juveniles were involved in a previous theft of the same vehicle. Charges will be filed in this case against the driver for possession of stolen property and felony evasion.
“There may also be charges related to child endangerment,” according to officials.
It was not immediately known if officials were referring to charges being filed against the parents and/or guardians of the three teens or someone else involved in the incident.
The investigation is active and ongoing.
HEMET – Details are still emerging after three Hemet residents, all minors between the ages of 14 to 16, were badly injured at the end of a short, stolen-vehicle pursuit. The wreck happened just two minutes into the pursuit, when the young and inexperienced driver lost control of the stolen vehicle in the rain.
The accident happened in front of a residence on the 240 block of Columbia Avenue.
Witnesses at the scene said it appeared the driver lost control of the car while traveling southbound on Columbia Street, after the vehicle hit a dip at the intersection of E. Devonshire Avenue.
After hitting the dip, the vehicle went airborne, spun around after landing and smashed into the tree while traveling backwards. When the car plowed into the tree it sliced into the car, all the way into the rear of the passenger compartment.
The incident began just before midnight, Tuesday, May 9, when City of Hemet emergency dispatchers were notified regarding the theft of a vehicle. The car, described as a black sedan, was stolen from the 1300 block of Cabrillo Drive in Hemet.
As officers were converging on the area, one officer spotted the stolen vehicle being driven eastbound on E. Oakland Avenue near N. San Jacinto Avenue. The officer followed the stolen car for several blocks, while waiting for other officers to arrive in the area.
The officer following the stolen car advised there were three occupants inside the stolen vehicle; however, due to darkness and the rain, the officer was not able to identify the subjects inside the vehicle or determine their ages.
At about midnight, once there were several patrol vehicles following the stolen car, officers activated their overhead lights and sirens and initiated a traffic stop.
The driver, who has not been named due to their age, refused to yield and immediately sped away from the officers. Officers initiated a vehicle pursuit as the driver fled eastbound on Oakland at a high rate of speed.
During the pursuit, the young driver fled in an extremely reckless manner, without regard for the safety of other citizens or pursuing officers. The fleeing teens were seen speeding through several intersections with posted stop signs, including N. Girard and Yale Streets among others.
The driver of the stolen car next headed east on Park Avenue then south on Columbia Avenue.
The subjects continued fleeing – hitting speeds as high as 65 mph through residential neighborhoods – while still refusing to stop for stop signs.
At 12:02 a.m., just two minutes into the pursuit, officers requested assistance from the Riverside County Sheriff’s aviation unit. Moments later, they advised the driver had lost control of the stolen vehicle and smashed backwards at high-speed into a tree.
Officers advised all three occupants from the vehicle were badly injured and at least one of the subjects was trapped inside the mangled wreckage of the stolen car. Officers immediately requested medical personnel to the scene and began closing down the block where the accident happened.
As officers began to provide medical aid to the three injured occupants, they realized all were juveniles. One or more of the minors were reportedly girls.
When City of Hemet firefighter/paramedics arrived at the scene they quickly determined they would need to perform a cut and rescue operation and were in need of further technical gear and assistance.
The on scene battalion chief requested two more engine companies and three ambulances respond to the scene of the crash.
Firefighter/paramedics began to assess and treat the three injured teens while other firefighters used the “Jaws of Life” to extricate the injured and trapped occupants from the wrecked vehicle.
AMR medics transported at least one of the occupants to the Trauma Center at Riverside University Health System in Moreno Valley.
Officials later updated the condition of the three occupants from the vehicle, writing, “All three occupants of the vehicle were transported to a local hospital where one is listed in critical condition and the other two are in stable condition.”
While some officers cordoned off the area, began investigating the crash and recovered the destroyed stolen car, other officers went to the homes of the three minors to advise their parents regarding the incident and the status of their children. All three families were notified by 1:30 a.m.
Shortly before 2 a.m., officers, supervisors and other police officials were still at the scene of the wreck and members from the department’s Traffic Team had responded to the location to conduct an investigation into the crash.
Their investigation is active and ongoing.
Columbia Street remained closed to through-traffic between E. Devonshire and E. Florida Avenues for several hours and was re-opened when officers concluded their investigation shortly before 3:30 a.m.
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This is a developing story. Additional information will be updated as it becomes available.
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Trevor Montgomery runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News and Anza Valley Outlook and also writes for Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County.
Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg and breaking his back in an off-duty accident.
During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center and Lake Elsinore Station, along with other locations.
Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.
Trevor has been married for more than 26 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 12 – soon to be 13 – grandchildren.