UPDATED: CHP reporting major injuries after vehicle smashes into pole, fire hydrant, bursts into flames

UPDATE: Monday, Oct. 8, 12:49 p.m.

TEMECULA — CHP updated they reopened all lanes of travel along SR-79 shortly before 12:45 p.m., nearly twelve hours after the highway was closed due to a fiery, solo-vehicle accident involving a vehicle that plowed head-on into a utility pole and fire hydrant.

Officials have not released any further information regarding the accident or their investigation, which is ongoing.


TEMECULA — Officials are investigating a single-vehicle, major injury, traffic collision today after a vehicle smashed into a power pole and fire hydrant and burst into flames on the outskirts of Temecula.

The early-morning accident happened on SR-79 between Horizon View St. and Anza Rd., according to a California Highway Patrol incident log.


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CHP, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire, and other emergency personnel, were dispatched to the scene about 1 a.m., after an area resident called 911 and reported hearing a crash nearby.

A vehicle burst into flames after smashing into a pole and fire hydrant early this morning. Chris Wennersten photo

A few minutes later, while officials were still responding to the area, other 911 callers reported finding a vehicle that had left the roadway and smashed into a utility pole and fire hydrant.

According to callers the vehicle caught fire and was burning, despite the broken fire hydrant spraying water into the air. Callers could not tell if anyone was inside the vehicle.

Cal Fire updated about 1:15 p.m. that they were on scene of a vehicle that had burst into flames after plowing into a pole and fire hydrant and they were also unable to confirm if anyone was still inside the wrecked and burning vehicle.

The fiery crash left the damaged utility pole leaning precariously over SR-79 and CHP called for the full closure of the road, requesting CalTrans to the scene to assist officers and deputies in closing the highway between Horizon View St. and Anza Rd.

SoCal Edison was summoned to the scene to assess and repair the damaged pole. Although Edison employees arrived around 3:30 a.m., they were not expected to be able to make the repairs for several hours and requested additional personnel to assist with the necessary repairs.

A utility pole was left dangling precariously over SR-79 after the wreck. Chris Wennersten photo

The road closure caused a traffic nightmare for area residents and early morning commuters, who reportedly were trying to bypass the scene of the crash and road closure by driving through dirt fields and up and down dirt roads searching for a way around the crash.

CHP updated shortly after 11:15 a.m. that the northbound lanes had been reopened and that flaggers were in place assisting with traffic control through the area, but they were unable to provide as ETA for southbound lanes to reopen.

CHP has not yet released any details regarding the accident or their investigation, which is active and ongoing.

Anza Accurate Emergency Alerts is dedicated to the dispersal of accurate emergency information to the Mountain Communities and provides information related to traffic accidents, fires, mudslides, road condition alerts, police activity to avoid, floods, power outages and more. With no clutter, no rumors, and no speculation, just timely and accurate news to assist in dealing with local emergencies, AAEA is your place to go to stay up to date and informed.


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.


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