UPDATE: MV “speed contest” leaves multiple ejected – 4 dead, 1 seriously injured

UPDATED: Tuesday, Sept. 4, 8:52 p.m.

MORENO VALLEY — Officials have identified the victims of last Friday’s fatal solo-vehicle accident that happened on the 60 Freeway near Redland’s Blvd.

Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner officials identified Polo Najera, Rafael Ramirez Espinoza, and Valentino Ramos, who were all 21-years-old, and 20-year-old, Airyana Luna as the victims killed in the crash. A coroner’s release indicated all four San Bernardino residents were pronounced deceased at 7:52 p.m.

According to friends and family of Luna, none of whom wanted to be identified, later explained the 20-year-old was pregnant and had just enjoyed a baby shower the week before her death.

Members of CHP’s Multi-disciplinary Accident Investigation Team are investigating the crash and their investigation is ongoing.


UPDATED: Friday, Aug. 31, 10:10 p.m., With updates from CHP

UPDATED: Friday, Aug. 31, 11:30 p.m., With additional interviews, details , and photographs

See original story and photos below.

MORENO VALLEY — California Highway Patrol now says tonight’s rollover accident in Moreno Valley on the 60 Freeway near Redlands Blvd. was the result of a “speed contest” involving as many as three vehicles.

The deadly wreck, which threw vehicle parts, victim’s bodies, and debris, onto both sides of the freeway and blocked both directions of travel, resulted in one partial and two full ejections and has already claimed the lives of four victims. A fifth victim reportedly sustained serious injuries, and their condition has not been updated.

Dozens of officials responded to tonight’s quadruple fatal accident on the 60 Freeway in Moreno Valley. William Hayes/OCHawk News photo

CHP Officer Sgt. Eugene Norris said from the scene that officers are now searching for two vehicles believed to have been racing a white, 1999 BMW, which was left completely unrecognizable after the deadly crash. Norris described the two cars as a gray or black, 2017 Honda Civic and black Mazda hatchback.

According to Norris, the victims killed in the crash are believed to have been in their early 20’s, but their nationalities are not yet known.

“We’re still early on in the investigation and we don’t know yet if seat belts were involved,” the Sgt. explained. Norris also advised it’s still too early to tell when officials will have the road reopened, but he did say “several hours at this point.”

Area resident Javier Gutierrez, who came to the freeway after hearing sirens and helicopters at the freeway, later described the scene as “total devastation, just unbelievable.”

“It just goes to show that we need to slow down,” Gutierrez said after learning the accident was caused by excessive speed and possibly vehicles racing. “Traveling at high speeds is just too dangerous. It’s not worth it.”

At 10:43 p.m., CHP updated that all eastbound lanes had been reopened.

Officials remain at the scene as of this report and their initial on scene investigation is active and ongoing.

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

Click any image to open full-size gallery.

William Hayes/OC Hawk News photos


Original and updated story

UPDATED: Friday, Aug. 31, 9:55 p.m., With additional information regarding ongoing road closure

MORENO VALLEY — Four people are confirmed dead and a fifth person has sustained serious injuries after a rollover accident that launched a car over a center divider and onto the opposing lanes of a Moreno Valley freeway this evening.

The deadly wreck happened on the westbound 60 Freeway, west of Redlands Blvd, but affected both sides of the highway. The accident investigation, now heading into its third hour, has created a traffic nightmare for evening commuters and holiday weekend travelers.


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California Highway Patrol and other emergency personnel, including more than a dozen firefighters from four engine and truck companies, were dispatched to the accident just after 7:32 p.m., after callers began reporting a solo-vehicle rollover, with two people ejected onto the highway.

Firefighters work at the scene of a quadruple fatal rollover accident in Moreno Valley. William Hayes/OC Hawk News photo

911 callers reported a white sedan had struck the highway’s center median, causing it to over turn multiple times near the Redlands Blvd. exit, according to a CHP incident log. According to witnesses, the vehicle came to rest upside down on its roof between the number one and two lanes of the opposite side of the freeway.

Callers also told emergency dispatchers that one of the two victims thrown from the vehicle landed within the lanes of travel on the eastbound side of the freeway, while the other landed near the center median.

The first arriving engine company reported three victims trapped in the wrecked sedan and confirmed two other victims had been ejected in the crash.

“Four of the victims perished at the scene and one victim suffered serious injuries,” Cal Fire spokesperson Tawny Cabral explained in an incident report.

Based on the severity of the accident and the fact that vehicle parts, victim’s bodies, and other debris, had been launched across both sides of the freeway, officers called for the closure of the freeway in both directions and issued a SigAlert for the area.

CHP and Riverside County Sheriff’s Department worked together to divert all traffic off the freeway at Moreno Beach Rd. and Redlands Blvd.

CHP reported the eastbound number 2 lane was reopened around 9 p.m., just minutes after officials requested signs on the 91 Freeway be activated to warn eastbound traffic of the extensive delays.

CalTrans officials were summoned to the scene and at 9:30 p.m., CHP updated officials had arrived and were beginning the process of setting up a hard road closure through the area.

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

Click any image to open full-size gallery.

Additional photos being uploaded, please check back.


Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 47, recently moved to the Intermountain area of 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 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 28 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 14 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.