LAKE ELSINORE: Popular “motovlogger” dies riding Ortega Highway
LAKE ELSINORE — An Irvine motorcyclist, popular online “motovlogger” and well-known face among southern California sport bike enthusiasts died Saturday morning, Mar. 31, after losing control of her motorcycle while traveling on Highway 74. The deadly crash happened east of Morrell Canyon, in an unincorporated area of Lake Elsinore.
The stretch of highway, also known as the Ortega Highway, passes through the Santa Ana Mountains and connects Riverside and Orange Counties.
Popular among sport bike enthusiasts and other motorcycle riders – due to its hairpin turns, sweeping curves and majestic views – the section of highway has been the site of countless major and fatal accidents involving motorcyclists over the years.
According to California Highway Patrol officials 33-year-old, Annette A. Carrion, was headed toward her home in Orange County when she failed to negotiate a curve along the road, careened off the paved highway, and plummeted about 50 feet down a steep embankment.
CHP, Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire and other emergency first responders were dispatched to the scene of the accident just after 10:45 a.m., when other motorists and riders who witnessed the crash called 911.
Eleven firefighters from two engine companies and one truck company responded to the deadly crash, Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire spokesperson Tawny Cabral later explained in an incident report.
“The first arriving engine company reported one motorcycle approximately 50 feet over the side,” said Cabral.
Rescuers who hiked down the embankment determined Carrion sustained major traumatic injuries. When they found her, officials reported the victim had already succumbed to her injuries and paramedics pronounced her deceased at the scene.
According to CHP, officers who investigated the tragic accident determined Carrion was traveling well above the highway’s suggested, cautionary speed limit of 30 mph along the curve in the road and had been going about 70 to 80 mph when she lost control.
Experienced rider, popular motovlogger, dies riding her favorite “twisties”
Carrion, who regularly shared videos of her experiences as a female rider in a male dominated sport on her YouTube channel, died traveling the highway she often referred to as one of her favorite SoCal-area spots to ride.
Very familiar with the challenging highway, Carrion was known to ride the Ortegas – sometimes with groups, other times by herself – almost every weekend she had free. She often recorded her travels along the scenic highway and used the footage for segments of her vlog.
With just a few shy of ten thousand subscribers and nearly two million combined views, Carrion’s YouTube videos featured tech tips, advice, personal experiences, and motorcycle-related clothing and equipment reviews.
Her videos often showed Carrion at motorcycling events and track days, during solo and group rides and enjoying other motorcycle related activities.
Many of Carrion’s videos featured the experienced motorcyclist riding her customized, black and red, 2015 Triumph Street Triple R – which had been lowered to fit her 5’4″ frame – on the same stretch of the Ortega Highway.
In a Facebook post the day before her fatal accident, Carrion wrote about her plans to ride the highway the next morning saying, “Happy Friday! Who’s ready to ride some twisties this weekend?”
It was one of the very last times she ever posted to Facebook and she died riding that same motorcycle along the same stretch of the highway.
A life, career and hobby that revolved around a passion
According to her friends, Carrion had recently been recovering from the loss of both her parents – her mother died the day after Thanksgiving last year and her father had reportedly just passed about a week or so before the victim’s own death.
In a February video titled “How I lost my mom” Carrion described how her mother had an “adventurous and free spirit” and had always been a huge supporter of the victim’s passion for motorcycling – both as a career as well as a hobby.
During the video, Carrion described with a huge smile how her mom even once asked to ride on the back of her first motorcycle, a green and black Kawasaki Ninja.
Despite losing her mom just three months earlier, in a Feb. 28 video update Carrion optimistically explained, “Things are finally starting to come together for me once again.”
“Life can be a roller coaster of ups and downs, but the struggles tend to make us stronger,” Carrion explained. “If we were always in our comfort zone, then it would be much more difficult to experience personal growth.”
By all accounts – in spite of the recent double loss of both her parents – Carrion was doing well and was excited after recently starting a new job, less than a month before her death. A former Web Editor at Motorcyclist magazine, Carrion had just begun working at Acorn Woods Communications in Huntington Beach, a digital marketing agency based out of Lake Havasu City, AZ.
Among other recent positive things happening in Carrion’s life, BikersStory.com recently named her one of “15 biker ladies on Instagram you must follow!” With 124,000 followers, she came in at number 12.
Carrion was also a founding member of the Redline Ravens, a motorcycling group comprised of female riders that was recently profiled and featured on sena.com’s Adventure Seekers.
According to the Redline Ravens website, the group was created in 2015 as a way to encourage others – especially women – to ride.
One of their stated goals is to “inspire riders internationally to unite and share the same passion they have for the motorcycle lifestyle.” The women in the group say they work to “promote a sense of camaraderie and mutual respect between all riders by organizing rides at their local canyons and staying active in the motorcycle community.”
As word of Carrion’s tragic death spread like a social media wildfire, the surviving members of her Redline Ravens group posted a sad and reflective message (Twitter link/post shown below) to their followers explaining their tremendous sense of loss at Carrion’s unexpected and all too soon passing.
“We just lost one of our own. The pain is so unreal,” the Ravens explained in a Twitter post. “Things won’t be the same without you.”
“We’ve been through so much and faced the odds together, striving to set good examples and earn genuine respect from the motorcycle community and others. If only you could see just how big and positive of an impact you’ve already made,” the Twitter post continued. “We’ll be sure to make you proud, beautiful. We love you so very much always and forever. May you ride and rest in paradise.”
In one of her very last posts, filmed Saturday morning – just a few hours before her death, Carrion briefly explained why she had not recently been posting videos to her popular vlog, while she adjusted to her parent’s death. In the video, which can be viewed below, Carrion is smiling and appears happy and excited to get ready for her ride and next vlog post.
“I know I haven’t posted in a long time, but today’s the day I come out of hiatus,” Carrion excitedly explained. “I’m about to get geared up and go for a little ride to Ortega Highway, so I will be motovlogging and telling you all about what’s been going on in my life. It’s just been a really crazy and hectic time.”
“So anyway, just stay tuned for my motovlog,” Carrion concludes with a beaming smile. “I gotta go get ready!”
CHP’s investigation into the fatal accident is active and ongoing.
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Annette Carrion’s final Facebook post
Annette Carrion vlog video
View this post on Instagram
We just lost one of our own. The pain is so unreal . Things won’t be the same without you. We’ve been through so much and faced the odds together, striving to set good examples and earn genuine respect from the motorcycle community and others . The three of us stood strong together and kept each other up, but for now… with time, we’ll learn how to continue standing strong on two legs and grow even stronger in your honor. If only you could see just how big and positive of an impact you’ve already made… we’ll be sure to make you proud, beautiful. We love you so very much always and forever, @annettecarrion. May you ride and rest in paradise. #lovemoreridemore #annettecarrion
Redline Ravens Instagram post
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Trevor Montgomery, 46, recently moved to Shasta County from Riverside County and 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.