UPDATED: CHP releases details about fatal head-on crash that killed SJ man, 28

UPDATED: Monday, Apr. 23, 6 p.m. With additional info from CHP

UPDATED: Monday, Apr. 23, 1 a.m. With video from scene

UPDATED: Sunday, Apr. 22, 11:57 p.m. With additional photos


SAN JACINTO — California Highway Patrol has released additional information about a fatal, head-on collision that happened last night on Sanderson Avenue. The deadly wreck happened just south of the Gilman Springs Road overpass and north of Ramona Expressway, in an unincorporated area just north of San Jacinto.

CHP is still working to determine if alcohol, drugs or a possible medical condition contributed to the wreck that killed a 28-year-old San Jacinto man. Robert Carter/Public Safety Incidents photo

A 28-year-old, San Jacinto man died in the crash that sent a 39-year-old, Pasadena resident to the hospital with major injuries. A 50-year-old, Hemet resident in a third vehicle involved in the crash was uninjured, according to CHP Officer Darren Meyer.

Officials have not yet publicly identified the victim, who succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased by medical personnel at the scene at 9:56 p.m.

Officials from multiple area law enforcement, fire and rescue agencies rushed to the scene of the crash after the deceased driver sideswiped a silver BMW and plowed head-on into a grey Toyota.

According to a CHP Incident Log, before the accident happened other motorists had called 911 to report that the driver of the Ford was possibly DUI or suffering an unknown medical condition and they told CHP emergency dispatchers that the Ford was swerving across lanes of traffic and was “all over both lanes.” Other drivers following the Ford were traveling with their emergency flashers on, possibly in an attempt to warn other drivers of the potential danger.

The deadly crash happened about 15 minutes after the first 911 reports were made regarding the reckless driver and almost five minutes after a caller reported to emergency dispatchers that the gold sedan had collided with a center median and continued driving.

During their initial collision investigation, CHP determined the San Jacinto man in the Ford had been driving southbound on Sanderson just before the deadly crash. At the same time, Juan Conde, a 50-year-old man from Hemet was driving a silver BMW 328i northbound on Sanderson and Thomas Jackson III, a 39-year-old man from Pasadena, was driving a grey Toyota Corolla northbound, behind the BMW.

“For reasons not yet known, the driver of the Ford Focus allowed his vehicle to cross the double yellow lines into the northbound lanes of SR-79,” said Meyer.

“The left side of the Ford Focus side swiped the left side of the BMW,” Meyer continued. “The driver of the Ford Focus lost control of the vehicle and subsequently collided head on with the northbound Corolla,” causing the victim’s fatal injuries, according to Meyer.

Alcohol and/or drug impairment have not been ruled out as possible contributing factors in the fatal wreck, according to CHP, but officials are also looking at other, possible contributing factors.

Family and friends of the deceased driver have claimed the man who caused the deadly wreck had been sick recently and was on his way home from work when the accident happened. The revelation has left many throughout the community speculating that the possibly sick man had fallen asleep at the wheel or suffered some other medical crisis that led to the deadly wreck.

Officials expect toxicology results and their continuing investigation to shed more light on the tragic situation.

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


ORIGINAL STORY: BREAKING: SAN JACINTO: Man, possibly DUI and fleeing hit and run, killed in head-on collision

SAN JACINTO — A vehicle that was possibly fleeing the scene of an accident plowed head-on into another vehicle, killing one driver and seriously injuring the other. The deadly wreck happened on N. Sanderson Avenue, just south of the Gilman Springs Road overpass and north of Ramona Expressway, in an unincorporated area just north of San Jacinto.

SEE ALSO: Woman uninjured after car plows through caution sign, overturns on Gilman Springs

The incident began when at least one person called 911 to report a suspected drunk driver in a “small, gold sedan.” According to a CHP Incident Log, CHP emergency dispatchers were first notified regarding the driver at 9:27 p.m., when the caller reported they were behind a car that was swerving across the roadway. The caller did not know if the driver was impaired or suffering from a medical condition, but they reported that the sedan was “all over both lanes.”

When officials arrived they found a man who had succumbed to his injuries after plowing head-on into a small Toyota. Robert Carter/Public Safety Incidents photo

According to the CHP log, the driver’s actions were so dangerous, other vehicles behind the car were driving with their emergency flashers on, possibly in an attempt to warn others of the potential danger.

Ten minutes later, while 911 callers were continuing to provide updates to CHP and CHP patrol officers were still heading to the area, a caller reported that the sedan had struck a center median and continued driving.

CHP officers in the San Jacinto Valley then began coordinating with officers in the Banning area to try to intercept the reckless driver, since it appeared the vehicle was intending to continue northbound on Sanderson into Lamb Canyon toward Beaumont and Banning.

Just four minutes later, 14 minutes after the driver’s actions were first reported to CHP, 911 callers updated that the suspected hit and run driver plowed head-on into a small, dark-colored Toyota.

Callers reported that both directions of travel were blocked by vehicle parts and debris, and both male drivers of the two vehicles were trapped inside their cars. Callers also advised the two men had sustained major injuries and vehicles were not able to get past the extensive wreckage.

Deputies from the Sheriff’s San Jacinto Police Station were some of the first responders to arrive at the scene and they immediately requested additional resources to the location. They then began checking on the victims, blocking off traffic, and redirecting vehicles away from the wrecked cars.

Nine firefighters from two engine companies and a Paramedic Squad were initially dispatched to the scene, Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire spokesperson Tawny Cabral explained in an incident report. “The first arriving engine company reported two vehicles that collided head-on with one victim trapped in each vehicle,” said Cabral.

Firefighters race to cut a man free from his destroyed vehicle after the fatal, head-on crash. Robert Carter/Public Safety Incidents photo

Officials used the “Jaws of Life” to cut away the two vehicles and gain access to the victims, at which time they confirmed the driver of the gold sedan had already succumbed to his injuries. Medical personnel pronounced him deceased at the scene.

Although Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner’s officials were requested to the scene just minutes before 10 p.m., firefighters spent an extended amount of time cutting the deceased victim’s vehicle away so they could remove his body from the wrecked car.

American Medical Response medics eventually transported the other driver by ground ambulance to Riverside University Health System in Moreno Valley. His current condition is not known.

While officials investigated the accident they initially called for the full closure of N. Sanderson Ave. All traffic was diverted between Gilman Springs Road and Ramona Expressway and Riverside County sheriff’s deputies assisted with traffic control. As traffic quickly backed up several miles, officials eventually allowed southbound traffic to pass by the accident, but vehicles were forced to slowly travel along the dirt shoulder.

Both vehicles were eventually towed from the scene and Sanderson Ave. was reopened to through traffic shortly before 12:30 a.m.

CHP has not yet released any information regarding the deadly collision and their investigation is active and ongoing.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation or who witnessed all or part of the reported incident and has not provided a statement is encouraged to contact CHP’s San Gorgonio Area Station at (951) 769-2000. Callers can remain anonymous.

Click any image to open full-size gallery.

(Additional photos and videos courtesy of Public Safety Incidents pending.)

Robert Carter/Public Safety Incidents video


Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

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.


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