RIVERSIDE: Hit and run driver who killed two, injured third, released within hours of arrest

RIVERSIDE — Two men died and a woman was injured when an SUV ran a red light and plowed broadside into a sedan early Saturday morning, June 9. After the collision, the Fontana resident who reportedly caused the crash fled from the area on foot but was later located and arrested at a Colton hospital while trying to receive treatment for injuries he sustained in the collision.

Booked on a sole count of hit and run resulting in death, the alleged suspect – 22-year-old, Eric Alfredo Figueroa-Reyes – was released within hours of his arrest after posting just a fraction of his $75,000 bail.

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After learning the alleged hit and run driver was only booked on a single charge and given such a low bail, some family and friends of the two deceased men are demanding answers and several say they fear that after getting released on such a low bail amount, the alleged suspect may flee and never be brought to justice.

A Riverside police officer who happened upon the aftermath of the deadly wreck that killed two men found one passenger already deceased at the scene. William Hayes/OC Hawk News photo

“This is just so damn disgusting,” Juan Reyes said after learning about his friend’s death and Figueroa-Reyes’ quick release.

“That (expletive) is probably already long gone, while we’re left mourning the loss of (withheld) and (withheld),” Reyes – who has no relation to the alleged hit and run driver – angrily stated.

“You just watch,” Reyes continued, “There won’t be no justice for (either victim).”

Other family and friends echoed Reyes’ sentiments and requested to not be identified, as they mourn the loss of the two victims.

The deadly hit and run, which involved a black Nissan Sentra and dark grey Jeep Cherokee, happened on Market Street at the westbound 60 on ramp in Riverside. The accident forced the closure of Market Street, from the freeway overpass to Rivera Street. Officials also called for the temporary closure of the westbound 60 off ramp at Market Street, forcing CHP to issue a SigAlert for the area.

Officials began investigating the fatal collision about 3:15 a.m., when a Riverside PD patrol officer happened upon the aftermath of the wreck, Riverside Police Officer Ryan Railsback told OC Hawk News reporter William Hayes several hours after the crash.

The Jeep, which sustained major front-end damage, was found facing east across the raised center median. The Nissan had heavy passenger side damage and was found up on two wheels, resting against a steep berm and metal light pole.

The officer who discovered the wreck immediately radioed for additional officers and other emergency first responders and went to check on the occupants of the two vehicles. The official found an injured and dazed woman in her 20’s in the driver’s seat of the sedan and also found two male passengers inside the wrecked car.

Moments later, the officer later found the Jeep’s driver’s side door open and the SUV was unoccupied.

Officials quickly realized the man who caused the fatal collision fled the scene just before their arrival. William Hayes/OC Hawk News photo

City of Riverside Fire personnel and several AMR ambulance crews responded to the scene and immediately began assessing and treating the three victims from the Nissan. Paramedics quickly determined one of the men had already succumbed to his injuries and he was pronounced deceased at the scene.

The other passenger was found to be in critical condition and an AMR ambulance crew rushed the victim to an area hospital where he also succumbed to his injuries. He was pronounced deceased by hospital staff, according to Railsback, who said both men were in their 20’s.

Witnesses at the scene later said neither of the men appeared to have been wearing seat belts at the time of the collision; however, officials have not specified if the men were buckled in when the Jeep plowed into their vehicle.

Officials have not publicly identified either deceased victims, pending further investigation and notification of the men’s families.

Based on the circumstances, members of Riverside PD’s Major Accident Investigation Team responded to the scene and assumed the investigation.

As MAIT officials worked at the scene of the wreck, they were seen documenting, photographing, and collecting various vehicle parts, debris, and personal items that littered the intersection.

During their investigation, officials determined that just before the collision the Nissan was traveling northbound on Market St., with a green turn signal. At the same time the Jeep was heading southbound towards the intersection and was facing a red light.

Witness statements and evidence located at the scene indicated that as the Nissan was making a left turn onto the westbound 60 on ramp, the driver of the Jeep ran the red light and slammed broadside into the sedan.

The impact spun the car 360 degrees, where it jumped a curb, struck a traffic pole, and knocked down a directional sign.

One victim died at the scene, the other succumbed to his injuries after being rushed to an area hospital. William Hayes/OC Hawk News photo

While MAIT members worked at the scene of the collision, Riverside PD Traffic Division detectives began developing leads and gathering information that eventually led them to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton, where they located and arrested Figeuroa-Reyes.

Officials did not release how the alleged suspect got to the hospital, nearly seven miles from the scene of the fatal hit and run.

He was later booked into Robert Presley Detention Center on suspicion of a single count of hit and run resulting in death, but additional charges could be filed at his arraignment, more than two months away.

Jail records indicate Figueroa-Reyes was arrested at 2 p.m., and booked into jail two and a half hours later. He was released just a few hours later after posting bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned at Riverside’s Hall Of Justice, Aug. 10.

Officials have not stated if Figueroa-Reyes was intoxicated when he smashed into the victim’s sedan, but Railsback said intoxication was not believed to have played a part on behalf of the female victim.

Riverside PD’s investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with information regarding this collision or who saw the hit and run and has not yet been interviewed by officials is urged to contact Riverside Police Traffic Detective F. Soria at (951) 826-8720 or by email. Callers can refer to incident file number P18-106732 and can remain anonymous.

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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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