UPDATE: Teen speeding wrong way on 60 Fwy kills MV man, victim ID’d
RIVERSIDE — A 23-year-old, Moreno Valley man died after a wrong way driver plowed head-on into a vehicle the victim was a passenger in early Sunday morning, July 15. The deadly collision happened on Hwy 60, east of Market Street, in Riverside. Both drivers involved in the wrong way accident sustained major injuries and were hospitalized after the crash, according to California Highway Patrol.
CHP is still working to determine if drug or alcohol intoxication were contributing factors in the deadly crash and have said that depending on what investigators learn, the driver could be facing charges of manslaughter or murder.
LEADING THE RCNS HEADLINES:
CHP’s investigation began just after 3:30 a.m., when their Inland Communications Center began receiving 911 calls from motorists reporting a wrong way driver traveling at “high speed,” westbound in the eastbound lanes of SR-60 at Frederick St.
Three CHP units began responding to the area in an attempt to intercept the wrong way driver, CHP said in a release after the fatal collision.
Just six minutes later, while officers were converging on the area, a collision involving the wrong way driver was reported on eastbound SR-60, east of Market St.
When officials arrived they found the mangled wrecks of two vehicles, described as a red 2002 Ford Mustang and dark-colored 2016 Dodge Caravan. Vehicle parts and debris were spread across all lanes of the eastbound side of the freeway, blocking all lanes of travel.
Firefighter-paramedics immediately began evaluating and treating the victims of the collision while working to extricate the trio from the two destroyed vehicles.
Despite life-saving efforts, the passenger of the Dodge succumbed to his injuries just 10 minutes after the accident was reported. According to a coroner’s release, the man was pronounced deceased at the scene at 3:47 a.m.
Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner officials identified this afternoon Shanilka “Jehan” Mapatuna as the victim who died as a result of the collision.
While firefighters worked to extricate the two surviving drivers, CHP investigated the cause of the deadly collision
During CHP’s investigation officers determined that just before the crash, the driver of the wrong way vehicle, a 19-year-old woman from Ontario, was driving the Mustang westbound on eastbound SR-60 within the high occupancy vehicle lane at “a high rate of speed.”
At the same time, a 23-year-old man from Fontana was driving the Dodge eastbound on SR-60, east of Orange St., within the number one lane, directly ahead of the Mustang.
“The two vehicles subsequently collided head-on within the #1 lane,” CHP explained. “The Dodge traveled onto the center median and collided with the center divider wall. The Mustang traveled across the roadway and came to rest blocking the SR-60 eastbound on-ramp from Main St.”
Although officials are still working to determine exactly where the wrong way driver entered the freeway, based on 911 calls she drove at least 7 miles in the wrong direction before plowing into the victim’s Dodge.
Surveillance video footage obtained by Steve Johnson of the Facebook group “What is going on in Riverside County” showed the wrong way driver speeding the wrong way on the eastbound 60 Freeway near the 60/91/215 interchange just moments before the tragic collision.
Freelance photographer and videographer and regular RCNS contributor William Hayes was heading home and traveling eastbound on the freeway when the wrong-way driver narrowly missed his vehicle as the teen sped past his vehicle in the wrong direction.
“As soon as she passed I called 911 telling them that she was passing the interchange,” Hayes explained to RCNS after the collision.
“I turned around at Blaine and when I got to the interchange, I saw the mangled wrecks of the two vehicles with smoke pouring from both and CHP doing a traffic break,” Hayes explained. “They also had just missed her.”
Coincidentally, Hayes has been the first to arrive at several accidents and major incidents, including one where he was first on scene after an October, 2016 crash in Hemet on Highway 74 where he broke the window of a burning vehicle and helped save the driver.
In that incident, a woman later arrested for drunk driving drifted out of her lane and smashed head-on into a vehicle carrying a family of five.
Seeing the drunk driver’s vehicle filling with smoke, Hayes ran to the burning car and used a tire iron to break the vehicle’s windows to ventilate the smoke so the 22-year-old woman could be rescued from her burning car.
Family of the man killed in the wrong way collision have established a GoFundMe account to help offset the victim’s burial costs and other expenses. During its first three hours the fundraiser, which described the victim as “someone who could just light up a room … who could make you laugh, even when you’re crying your eyes out … and someone who you couldn’t help but to love,” had raised nearly $800 toward the fundraiser’s stated $10,000 goal.
Anyone with information regarding this collision investigation is encouraged to contact the CHP Riverside’s Accident Investigation Unit at (951) 637-8000. Callers can remain anonymous.
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William Hayes/OC Hawk News photos
Steve Johnson/What is going on in Riverside County video
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Trevor Montgomery, 47, 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.