UPDATE: Details sparse after Idyllwild wreck that killed girl, 15 – victim ID’d
UPDATED: Monday, Nov. 5, 11:30 p.m., With Additional details, victim’s ID
IDYLLWILD — Details are still emerging after a 15-year-old girl from Mountain Center died in Idyllwid yesterday afternoon, Sunday, Nov. 4. The fatal collision happened on Hwy. 243 at Saunders Meadow, and temporarily closed parts of the winding, two-lane, mountain road, also known as the Banning-Idyllwild Panoramic Highway.
Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner officials later identified Lilah Grace Whitney as the young victim who died in the wreck. A coroner’s release indicated Whitney was pronounced deceased at the scene of the crash at 5:09 p.m., about twenty-five minutes after the deadly accident was reported. Friends and family who knew the victim have reported she was a student at Hemet High School.
LEADING THE RCNS HEADLINES:
CHP and other emergency personnel were dispatched to the scene about 4:45 p.m., after a man called 911 to report that he had been involved in a vehicle accident. According to a CHP incident log, the victim did not know how many vehicles were involved in the crash.
Officials who arrived at the scene reported several serious injuries, with one victim in critical condition. Based on the severity of the injuries from the crash, officials requested an air ambulance and two ground ambulances to the scene and a Mercy Air Ambulance was quickly launched and headed to the area.
At 5:01 p.m., officials requested a second air ambulance to the location, at which time a Reach Air Ambulance was launched and headed to the area.
A short time later officials updated that Mercy Air 3 was requested to land at Keenwild Fire Station, about three miles from the scene of the crash, and that Reach 27 was en route with a twenty-minute ETA.
It was not immediately known how many victims were involved in the crash and their current conditions were unknown.
While officials worked at the scene they called for the temporary closure of northbound SR-243 through the area, but the southbound lane remained opened and unimpeded. The northbound lane was reopened about two hours after the crash, at 6:35 p.m., according to CHP.
Officials have not released any further details regarding their investigation, which is active and ongoing.
This is a developing story that will be updated as new information is available.
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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.