PERRIS: Man, 25, killed in Hwy. 74 accident with big-rig

PERRIS — Officials are investigating the cause of a fatal traffic collision between a sedan and a tractor-trailer, big-rig that happened Monday morning, Dec. 18. The deadly crash that killed a 25-year-old, Perris resident, happened on Highway 74, between Festus Circle and Ethanac Road, in an unincorporated area south of Perris and north of Lake Elsinore.

Officials work at the scene of a fatal, two-vehicle collision on Hwy. 74. Nathan Wilking/Fire Department Incidents-Riverside County photo

California Highway Patrol, Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire and other emergency first responders were dispatched to the scene of the wreck about 11:25 a.m., after other motorists and witnesses called 911 to report the accident.

When officials arrived at the scene they found the wrecked remains of a silver, 1998 Honda Accord and a yellow, 2014 Freightliner, tractor-trailer combo blocking the number one lanes of both the east and westbound lanes of travel.

Vehicle parts and debris were strewn across and along the highway in the area of the collision and witnesses were attempting to provide comfort and aid to the victim from the Honda.

Firefighters determined the critically injured driver of the Honda was trapped inside his mangled vehicle and they began to set up for a cut and rescue operation to extricate and free the driver.

As firefighters were working to free the trapped Honda driver, the victim succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene.

The victim has not yet been publicly identified, pending notification of his family.

While firefighters worked at the scene, CHP officers investigated the cause of the crash. During their investigation officers determined the deceased victim was traveling westbound in the number two lane on Highway 74, just west of Ethanac Road.

The victim was driving the Honda and was traveling about 70 mph just before the collision, according to a traffic collision report written by CHP Officer Serrano.

At the same time, a 48-year-old male from Yuma, AZ, was driving the Freightliner and traveling about 45-50 mph in the opposite direction, heading eastbound on Highway 74, just west of Ethanac Road

Officials issued a SigAlert and called for the closure of Hwy. 74 for several hours while they investigated the cause of the deadly crash. Nathan Wilking/Fire Department Incidents-Riverside County photo

“For an unknown reason, (the driver of the Honda) allowed his vehicle to drift off onto the right hand dirt shoulder at the north roadway edge of SR-74,” Serrano explained. “(He then) over corrected his steering input causing (his vehicle) to fishtail.”

As the driver of the Honda lost control of his sedan, it “traveled towards the eastbound traffic lanes crossing directly in the path of (the Freightliner),” said Serrano.

While officials worked at the scene, CHP called for a SigAlert for both directions of travel along Highway 74.

Officers lifted the SigAlert at the conclusion of their initial investigation and the roadway was re-opened about 2:30 p.m.

CHP’s investigation into the cause of the crash is active and ongoing.

Anyone with information about this investigation or who witnessed the deadly collision is encouraged to contact CHP’s Temecula area station at (951) 506-2000.

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Contact the writer:

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Trevor Montgomery, who recently moved from Riverside County to Shasta County, runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for Riverside County based newspapers Valley News, The Valley Chronicle and Anza Valley Outlook as well as 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, breaking his back and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries 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 27 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 14 grandchildren.

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