UPDATED: Pine Cove man, 81, ID’d after fatal Idyllwild crash

UPDATE: Thursday, Oct. 11, 10 a.m., With additional details from CHP.

UPDATE: Wednesday, Oct. 10, 11 a.m. With photos and video from scene.

See original story below.

IDYLLWILD — Officials have identified an elderly man who died yesterday afternoon when his vehicle plowed into a tree at the intersection of Highway 243 and Foster Lake Rd. in Idyllwild.

Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner officials identified today Charles Clayton, 81, of Pine Cove, as the man who died in the wreck. According to a coroner’s release Clayton succumbed to his injuries at the scene of the crash and was pronounced deceased at 12:33 p.m.


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Idyllwild resident Kelly Thomas later told RCNS he was on the side of Hwy. 243 at Fuller Mill Creek just before the deadly crash.

According to Thomas, he heard Clayton’s vehicle approaching him at high-speed with his “tires screeching on every curve.”

“That truck raced past me with its tires screeching on the asphalt because he was going so fast,” Thomas explained the day of the deadly crash, saying he heard the wreck several minutes later.

“There was also a grayish black truck speeding behind him and I could not tell whether he was being chased, or if they were racing, but they went right past me,” Thomas described. “The black truck was just about three seconds behind him.”

“I said to myself ‘this guy is going to crash or hurt somebody really bad,’ and then he did,” Thomas explained, saying he later reported what he saw to CHP. However, it was not immediately known if the truck Thomas reportedly saw was the same one involved in the wreck or if he had witnessed a truck unrelated to this accident.

CHP later explained in a press release that the cause of the crash is still under investigation, writing, “For reasons not yet known, the driver allowed his vehicle to drift off the paved portion of the roadway and onto the dirt shoulder. The front of the truck subsequently collided with a large pine tree.”

“The driver was not wearing his seat belt and subsequently suffered fatal injuries as a result of the impact,” CHP continued.

Alcohol, drugs, or a medical condition have not yet been ruled out as contributing factors in the cause of this collision, according to CHP.

Officers are still working to determine the cause of the crash and if the second reported pickup truck was involved in the crash in any way. Their investigation is ongoing.

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


Original Story: BREAKING: CHP investigating fatal Idyllwild crash after truck plows into tree

IDYLLWILD — Officials are at the scene of a fatal single-vehicle crash involving a pickup truck that smashed into a tree on SR-243 near Cedar Glen, between Pine Cove and Idyllwild.

CHP, Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire, Idyllwild Fire, and other emergency personnel, were dispatched to the crash about 12:11 p.m., after receiving reports of a vehicle that smashed into a tree and was blocking both lanes of the roadway.

When Cal Fire arrived they found a white Chevy pickup truck that had struck a tree, “and reported one victim trapped with critical injuries,” Cal Fire spokesperson April Newman later explained in an incident report.

Based on the severity of the victim’s injuries, officers requested an air ambulance to the scene and called for the full closure of the two-lane mountain highway.

Firefighters were able to eventually able to extricate the victim from the vehicle, but officials cancelled the air ambulance at 12:38 p.m., and requested coroner officials to the location when the man succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene.

As of 1 p.m., Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner officials were still responding to the location and the wrecked truck had not been moved from the roadway, pending the coroner’s arrival.

Both directions of travel remain blocked and CHP has not provided an update when the road will be reopened.

CHP has not yet released any information regarding this crash or their investigation, which is active and ongoing at the scene.

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

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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