Head-on SR-79 crash leaves man, 72, dead

SAN JACINTO — A two-vehicle, head-on collision in San Jacinto left one victim dead and another seriously injured late Tuesday evening, Jan. 29. The deadly crash, which involved two San Jacinto residents, happened on SR-79, 400 feet south of Gilman Springs Rd.

Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner officials later identified Zulfiqar Chaudhry, 72, of San Jacinto as the victim who passed away as a result of injuries he sustained in the crash. A coroner’s release indicated he died about twenty minutes after the collision and was pronounced deceased at 11:33 p.m.

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CHP, Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department, and other emergency personnel, were dispatched to the scene of the wreck about 11:10 p.m., after receiving reports of a head-on collision with a vehicle over the embankment. 911 callers reported at least one of the two involved motorists was unresponsive and the other was trapped inside the mangled wreckage of their vehicle.

When officials arrived, they found two heavily damaged cars and confirmed one of the victims was trapped and required the “Jaws of Life” to extricate her from her wrecked car. The two vehicles were described as a white, 2004 Honda Civic and silver, 1998 Honda Accord.

Despite life-saving efforts, one of the victims, later identified as Chaudhry, succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene.

The other victim, 33-year-old, San Jacinto resident, Connie Hill, was eventually cut free and extricated from her wrecked car, before she was rushed by ground ambulance to Riverside University Health System in Moreno Valley. CHP later described her injuries as “serious.”

During their subsequent investigation, CHP determined that just before the deadly collision Chaudhry was driving a Honda Civic southbound on SR-79, about a half-mile south of Gilman Springs Road. At the same time, Hill was driving a Honda Accord northbound on SR-79.

“For reasons not yet known, the man driving the white Civic allowed his vehicle to drift left, across the center median and directly into the path of the silver Honda Accord,” explained CHP. There were no passengers in either vehicle.

The wreck caused the temporary closure of Hwy 79, and the roadway was reopened at the conclusion of CHP’s initial on-scene investigation.

“Alcohol, drugs and any medical conditions have yet to be ruled out as contributing factors in determining the cause of this collision,” CHP said of their investigation, which is active and ongoing.


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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