MENIFEE: Two dead, two injured, after I-215 multi-vehicle crash

MENIFEE — Two people died and two others were injured Monday evening, Jan. 15, in a multiple-vehicle, traffic collision that happened on the southbound Interstate 215, between McCall Boulevard and Ethanac Road, in Menifee.

One of the drivers told officials at the scene he was a reporter/photographer headed home to San Diego after spending the afternoon obtaining footage of a home in Perris where as many as 13 minor and adult children had been found chained and padlocked to their beds, resulting in their parent’s arrest.

When officials arrived at the scene of the deadly wreck they found two deceased victims on the hood of a Honda sedan. Officials are still working to determine if the two victims were ejected through the back of the truck’s window or if they had been pushing the truck out of the lanes of traffic after suffering a mechanical breakdown. William Hayes photo

SEE RELATED: Parents arrested after officials discover 13 children, 2-29, chained and padlocked to beds

According to a California Highway Patrol incident log, CHP officers, Cal Fire/Riverside County firefighters and other emergency first responders were dispatched to the scene about 7:08 p.m., after CHP emergency dispatchers received several 911 calls from other motorists and witnesses who called to report the fatal accident.

At least one of the three vehicles ended up facing northbound in the southbound lanes and vehicle parts and debris were spread across all three of the southbound lanes of traffic, according to the log.

Officials who performed a field sobriety test on the driver of the Honda determined alcohol and drug intoxication were not contributing factors in the crash. William Hayes photo

Two of the vehicles were described as a dark-colored Dodge pickup truck and a grey or silver Honda sedan. No information about the third involved vehicle was immediately available.

Thirteen firefighters from two engine companies and one truck company responded to the accident, Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire spokesperson April Newman explained in an incident report. They were assisted by a paramedic squad.

“The first arriving engine company reported a two-vehicle traffic collision in the number three lane, with two confirmed fatalities and two patients with minor injuries requiring extrication,” Newman initially reported.

She later updated that three vehicles had been involved in the deadly crash, with only one victim requiring extrication.

Within minutes of the reported crash, CHP’s incident log indicated that southbound traffic had backed up several miles, with traffic at a standstill back to the Highway 74 exit.

Just before 8:30 p.m., Newman updated that one victim from the Dodge was transported to an area hospital with moderate injuries and a second victim, the driver of the Honda, was treated for minor injuries at the scene and declined further medical treatment.

Officials inspect the back of the destroyed Dodge after two of its occupants were killed in the crash. William Hayes photo

CHP Officer Richard Fuentes said from the scene that the accident happened when the Honda plowed into the back of the Dodge.

According to Fuentes, the Honda had one occupant who was not injured in the crash; however, two of three occupants from the pickup truck succumbed to their injuries and both were pronounced dead at the scene.

During their preliminary investigation officers determined the Honda had been travelling southbound on I-215 at an unknown speed in an unknown lane when it collided with the rear of the truck.

According to witnesses at the scene, the Honda driver told officers he did not see the pickup truck before slamming into it while travelling at highway speed.

Officials who found the two deceased occupants from the truck on the hood of the Honda and were still trying to determine if the two killed in the crash were ejected through the back window of the truck or if they had possibly been pushing the vehicle off the freeway after suffering a mechanical breakdown.

A woman who had reportedly been behind the wheel of the truck when it was hit by the Honda was transported to an area hospital with moderate injuries.

Southbound I-215 traffic quickly backed up several miles after the fatal collision. William Hayes photo

According to witnesses at the scene she was “hysterical and inconsolable” after the wreck and not able to answer any of CHP’s questions about the crash.

Officials later had at least one of the vehicles stored as evidence and the other vehicle was also towed from the scene.

Officials do not believe alcohol or drug intoxication were contributing factors in the deadly crash, according to Fuentes.

As of 9:30 p.m., traffic advisories were still issued throughout the surrounding area, as evening commuters slowly worked their way past and around the scene of the deadly crash.

CHP’s investigation into the fatal accident is active and ongoing.

This is a developing story that will be updated as additional information becomes available.

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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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