EASTVALE: Too young to legally consume alcohol, teen critically injures two in DUI wreck

EASTVALE — Two people were critically injured when an allegedly drunk woman ran a red light and plowed into another vehicle, late Monday afternoon, June 4. The accident happened at the intersection of Schleisman Road and Scholar Way, near Eastvale Elementary and River Heights Intermediate Schools, in Eastvale.

19-year-old Grace Whitman was arrested for DUI resulting in injuries after yesterday’s crash. RSO booking photo

After an investigation, deputies arrested a 19-year-old Rancho Cucamonga resident, later identified as Grace Whitman. She was booked into Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside on suspicion of driving under the influence resulting in injury.

Whitman was released within hours of her arrest after posting $50,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned at Riverside’s Hall Of Justice, Aug. 7.

Fourteen firefighters from three engine companies and one truck company responded to the crash just before 5 p.m., Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire spokesperson Tawny Cabral explained in an incident report. Sheriff’s officials and AMR personnel were also dispatched to the scene of the wreck.

The first arriving engine company reported two vehicles involved with two victims trapped inside one of the destroyed cars, according to Cabral.

Firefighters began setting up the “Jaws of Life” to perform a cut and rescue operation, while paramedics and other officials at the scene provided aid and comfort to the injured victims.

Firefighters eventually extricated the two trapped victims and both were transported by ground ambulances to area hospitals.

Based on the severity of the victims’ injuries, members of Eastvale Police Department’s Traffic Reconstruction Team responded and conducted a full investigation to determine the cause of the collision, Riverside Sheriff’s Sergeant Brian Gutierrez explained after the wreck.

The preliminary investigation revealed Whitman was driving a gray Subaru westbound on Schleisman Road, approaching Scholar Way just before the collision. At the same time the two victims, who have not been publicly identified, were traveling southbound Scholar Way in a black Toyota sedan toward the same intersection.

Deputies assigned to Eastvale PD’s Traffic Reconstruction Team investigated the DUI crash. William Hayes/OC Hawk News photo

Based on witness statements and evidence at the scene, deputies determined Whitman failed to stop at the red light and smashed into the victims’ car as it crossed the middle of the intersection.

After the collision both vehicles continued westbound, before coming to rest on Schleisman Road, west of the intersection.

“The driver and a passenger of the Toyota sedan … sustained major to life-threatening injuries,” Gutierrez explained. Whitman was not injured in the collision that critically injured the two victims. She was taken to a local hospital and after receiving a medical clearance she was booked into jail.

During their initial on-scene investigation, Traffic Reconstruction Team members called for the temporary closure of the intersection and all traffic was diverted to other area roads.

Anyone with additional information is encouraged to call Deputy Medina at the Jurupa Valley Station at (951) 955-2600. Callers can refer to incident file number EV181550064 and can remain anonymous. Citizens may also submit a tip using the Sheriff’s CrimeTips online form or www.wetip.com.

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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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