TUSTIN: One dead after car plows into back of big-rig parked along I-5

TUSTIN — One person died after a car veered off the southbound 5 Freeway near the Tustin Ranch Road off-ramp and plowed full speed into the back of a tractor-trailer semi-truck. According to CHP, the big-rig had been stopped and legally parked, completely off the highway and on the freeway’s shoulder, when the small sedan smashed into the truck’s trailer.

CHP works at the scene of a wreck that left one driver dead. OC Hawk News photo

CHP and other emergency first responders were dispatched to the scene of the deadly wreck about 2:40 a.m., after receiving multiple 911 calls reporting the crash. One caller, an off-duty sheriff deputy, told emergency dispatchers the driver of a red Nissan Versa had possibly already succumbed to major traumatic injuries suffered in the crash that peeled the car open like a tin-can.

When officials arrived they found the destroyed sedan as well as vehicle parts, debris and personal items scattered across the freeway. The wrecked sedan and debris left the number 3 and 4 lanes of southbound traffic blocked, and other motorists slowly worked their way past the scene of the violent accident.

Officials quickly confirmed the driver of the Nissan had succumbed to their injuries and medical personnel pronounced the victim deceased, CHP Sgt. Todd Kovaletz explained from the scene.

“It appears to be a male so far and he was the only person in the vehicle,” said Kovaletz, adding, “The big-rig was stopped on the right-hand shoulder – we don’t know how long yet – but it was completely on the shoulder and parked.”

The fatal wreck caused traffic quickly back up and the southbound lanes remained heavily congested for several hours, until CHP concluded their initial, on-scene investigation and the destroyed Nissan was towed from the scene.

Officials are still working to determine how fast the Nissan was traveling when it left the freeway, but multiple witnesses later told CHP the sedan had veered off the highway onto the shoulder just before plowing into the tractor-trailer combo. Witnesses did not report seeing brake lights before the tremendous impact.

CHP is investigating the deadly crash and their accident investigation is ongoing.

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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 several other news organizations, including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle and Anza Valley Outlook, as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and The Mountain Echo in Shasta 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. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s 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 – soon to be 15 – grandchildren.

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