Pursuit ends with violent crash, gas line rupture, evacuations – victim critically injured
UPDATED: Friday, Nov. 1, 10:30 a.m., With additional details regarding suspects
RIVERSIDE — Two men who allegedly led officers on a short pursuit that ended with a violent crash into two cars and a mattress business Oct. 30, pleaded not guilty at their arraignments yesterday.
Tuesday afternoon’s major injury traffic collision at the intersection of Tyler St. and Indiana Ave. left an innocent driver in critical condition and ruptured a natural gas line – forcing the closure of the intersection in all directions, as well as the evacuation of the business with the gas leak, according to officials.
The crash and subsequent investigation “severely impacted” rush hour traffic through the area and disrupted rail service between Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties, causing a traffic nightmare and long delays for motorists and rail commuters.
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Riverside Police spokesperson Officer Ryan Railsback later explained that officers spotted a white Honda Pilot with two occupants shortly after 3:30 p.m. A check of the SUV’s license number revealed the license plate had been reported as lost or stolen and officers attempted to conduct a traffic enforcement stop on the vehicle.
When officers attempted to stop the vehicle the driver refused to yield and led officers on a pursuit that lasted about three blocks, according to Railsback.
As the Honda was approaching the intersection of Tyler St. and Indiana Ave., the SUV struck another car but kept fleeing, Railsback explained. The Honda continued fleeing a short distance further until it slammed broadside into a black Mercedes-Benz.
The second impact sent both vehicles careening out of control and they crashed into a mattress business and ruptured a natural gas line at the southwest corner of the intersection.
Although both suspects fled on foot from the wrecked Honda, they were quickly apprehended by pursuing officers.
“The female driver who was struck by the suspect vehicle was treated at the scene by firefighter/paramedics and taken to a local hospital in critical condition,” Railsback explained. As of this update the victim remains hospitalized.
Because of the gas leak and crash investigation officers shut down the entire intersection in all directions and employees from the mattress store voluntarily evacuated the business. All four ramps to the 91 Freeway and nearby railroad tracks were also shut down due to all the police activity, which affected train service at the nearby Riverside-Downtown Metrolink Station.
City work crews were summoned to the scene to mitigate and repair the damaged gas line and based on the circumstances, Riverside PD’s Major Accident Investigation Team responded to conduct the accident investigation.
Work crews repaired the gas leak around 6 p.m., at which time full rail service was returned and some roads were reopened, according to Railback. But other streets in the immediate area of the crash remained closed for several more hours.
After their arrests, officers transported the driver, identified as Rocky Gino Reyes, 18, and passenger, identified as Christopher Martinez, 18, to Riverside County Jail.
Reyes was booked into jail on suspicion of committing thirteen felonies and four misdemeanors.
His felony charges included vehicle theft; three counts of hit and run resulting in serious bodily injury; carrying a loaded and concealed firearm within a vehicle, possession of a stolen firearm, and possession of a large capacity magazine; evading officers resulting in serious bodily injury; and two counts of possession of stolen property.
He was also booked on misdemeanor charges of resisting or obstructing police officers, permitting a loaded firearm inside a vehicle, and possession of stolen property valued at less than $950, and remains in custody on $500,000 bail.
Martinez was booked on suspicion of two felonies and five misdemeanors; including carrying a loaded firearm, possession of a large capacity magazine, and other weapons-related charges; two counts of possession of a controlled substance; and two counts of resisting or obstructing officers. He remains in custody on $5,000 bail.
The next court date for the two men has been scheduled for Nov. 13 at Riverside’s Hall of Justice.
Riverside PD’s investigation is ongoing and anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to contact Riverside PD at (951) 826-5700. Callers can refer to incident file number P18-206035 and can remain anonymous.
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Trevor Montgomery, 47, moved last year 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.