UPDATE: Hit by multiple cars while running on I-15, Lake Elsinore man ID’d

UPDATED: Saturday, Dec. 29, 4:30 p.m., With coroner’s release of information.

HESPERIA — A Lake Elsinore man was fatally struck by multiple cars while reportedly running in the lanes of traffic on Interstate 15 early Sunday morning, Dec. 23. The fatal collisions happened in the Cajon Pass, just south of Oak Hills Rd. in Hesperia, according to California Highway Patrol. At least two of the vehicles that ran over Zacarias’ body continued driving several miles before exiting the freeway at the Highway 138 off-ramp, where they waited for responding CHP officers to arrive.

San Bernardino County Coroner officials later identified 22-year-old, John Zacarias, as the person struck and killed last Sunday morning.


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CHP dispatchers began receiving calls about Zacarias from motorists and other witnesses shortly before 4 a.m., according to a CHP incident log. 911 callers reported seeing a man wearing a red shirt running in the lanes of traffic on southbound I-15.

At 4:08 a.m., while officers were still responding to the area, CHP dispatch received another 911 call from a woman who reported that she had just hit and run over a body that was already down in the number three lane of the four lane highway.

When CHP and other emergency personnel arrived, they found that “physical evidence” related to the multiple collisions was spread across all four lanes of travel, and partly due to the steep, downhill grade of the pass, covered several miles of the highway. Because the accident scene covered such a large area, CHP was forced to close a large section of the freeway through the Cajon Pass and issue a SigAlert, CHP’s log indicated.

The closure, which lasted several hours, created a traffic nightmare for early morning commuters who found themselves stuck in bumper to bumper gridlock traffic; as vehicles tried to find alternate routes around the fatal accident scene.

The SigAlert was lifted several hours later and the southbound lanes were re-opened shortly before 8 a.m.

It was not immediately known why Zacarias was running in the lanes of traffic prior to being fatally struck and CHP’s investigation is ongoing.

John Zacarias, 22, of Lake Elsinore died when he was struck by multiple cars while reportedly running in the lanes of traffic on I-15 in the Cajon Pass, near Hesperia.

Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

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 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.


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