RIVERSIDE: Fast-acting citizens credited with saving victim from overturned, burning truck

RIVERSIDE – Officials are crediting several good Samaritans with extinguishing a truck fire and saving at least one person after a single-vehicle, rollover traffic accident Monday evening, May 15. The fiery wreck happened in front of Mountain View Elementary School on Streeter/Grand Avenue near Mountain View Avenue in Riverside.

Numerous nearby residents came from their homes to help the trapped and injured occupant from the overturned truck. Loudlabs News photo

It was not immediately known how many occupants had been inside the truck when it overturned; however witnesses at the scene reported seeing firefighter/paramedics evaluate and treat at least two people before AMR medics transported both to an area hospital. Officials did not specify the nature and extent of the victim’s injuries or if both victims were injured in the rollover accident.

City of Riverside Police and Fire officials and American Medical Response medics responded to the accident scene shortly after 10:30 p.m., after several people called 911 to report the wreck.

911 callers told emergency dispatchers that the truck had ended up on its roof after it rolled and that it had caught fire. Callers also told dispatchers there was at least one person trapped inside the burning vehicle.

When they arrived, police and fire officials reported finding a pickup truck with major damage. Although the vehicle initially came to rest upside down with its occupant(s) trapped, officials found the wrecked truck on its wheels, with the occupant(s) safely out of the destroyed vehicle.

Witnesses at the scene told investigating officers that numerous nearby residents, who heard the crash and saw the burning vehicle, rushed from their homes to help those involved in the violent wreck. Some residents brought water and another person used a fire extinguisher to extinguish the flames. Citizens then reportedly pulled at least one woman from the wrecked vehicle before emergency crews arrived.

A person who had been inside the truck when it overturned is loaded onto a waiting ambulance. Loudlabs News photo

Area resident Lalonie Lefever, who came from her home to help after hearing the accident and seeing the burning truck, later said on social media that she and other neighbors found the truck upside down, on its roof.

Upon seeing the upside down and burning truck, Lefever and other neighbors and witnesses worked together to flip the overturned vehicle back onto its wheels and rescue a woman who was trapped inside the wreckage of the truck.

It is not yet known if speed or alcohol/drug intoxication were contributing factors in the rollover accident, pending toxicology reports and further investigation.

Riverside police officers are investigating the cause of the accident. Their investigation is active and ongoing.

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Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

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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.

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