MV couple in stolen SUV ejected in fatal head-on big-rig crash

MORENO VALLEY — Authorities are investigating a double ejection, head-on crash between an SUV and a tractor-trailer big-rig combo that killed the passenger of the SUV Wednesday morning, Jan. 30.

CHP now says the vehicle the couple was driving had been reported stolen when the fatal wreck occurred on Gilman Springs Road, about a half-mile east of Bridge St., in an unincorporated area of Moreno Valley north of San Jacinto.

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CHP, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire, and other emergency personnel, were first alerted to yesterday’s fatal collision shortly after 11:10 a.m. Multiple 911 callers reported a two-vehicle wreck involving a tractor-trailer combo and an SUV, and told emergency dispatchers that two people had been ejected from the SUV, which burst into flames upon impact.

Eddie Two people in a stolen SUV were ejected when their vehicle swerved into the path of an oncoming big-rig yesterday morning. George/Hemet News photo

When officials arrived, they found a big-rig and trailer with heavy front-end damage stopped diagonally across the lanes of traffic. A second vehicle described as a Dodge Durango was stopped in the roadway about 200 yards away, and was fully engulfed in flames, CHP spokesperson Darren Meyer said from the scene. Vehicle parts and debris were spread across a large section of the roadway and the Dodge’s engine was later found in a field, some distance away from where the deadly collision occurred.

The two ejected victims were nearby, with good Samaritans trying to provide aid and comfort to the pair, one of whom was pronounced deceased when paramedics arrived at the scene.

The victim killed in the collision was later identified by Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner officials as Tanya Gil, 31. Various sources indicate Gil resided in Hemet or Moreno Valley. A coroner’s release indicated she passed away within minutes of the crash and her time of death was listed as 11:16 a.m.

The other ejected person who had been driving the stolen Dodge, later identified as Issa Mojaddidi, 30, of Moreno Valley, was treated at the scene before being rushed by ground ambulance to Riverside University Health System’s trauma center in Moreno Valley. Meyer described his injuries as serious.

While paramedics treated the victims injured in the collision, firefighters worked to extinguish the vehicle blaze and clear the roadway of the extensive debris left by the tremendous impact between the two vehicles.

During a subsequent investigation, CHP determined that just before the collision Mojaddidi was driving a silver, 1998 Dodge Durango westbound on Gilman Springs Rd. Gil, the woman killed in the crash, was a passenger sitting in the front passenger seat of the SUV.

“The Durango was later determined to be a stolen vehicle out of Victorville, California,” Meyer explained.

At the same time, the driver of the big-rig, described as a white, 2009 Volvo truck tractor pulling a 40 foot semi trailer for Mother’s Nutritional Center, was traveling the opposite direction and heading eastbound. That driver was later identified as Roberto Magallon Sanchez, 57, of Los Angeles.

“For reasons not yet known, Mojaddidi allowed his vehicle to drift right and onto the north dirt shoulder of Gilman Springs Rd.,” explained Meyer. “Mojaddidi turned left in an attempt to move the Durango back into the westbound lanes, but he lost control.”

Mojaddidi’s swerving motion caused the Dodge to careen out of control, and the vehicle crossed into the eastbound lane, directly into the path of the oncoming big-rig. The impact between the two vehicles caused the SUV to spin multiple times, which caused the two occupants to be ejected. It was not believed that either had been wearing their seat belts at the time of the collision.

After the collision, the Volvo and trailer continued a short distance, crossed into the oncoming lane of traffic and eventually came to rest against a dirt embankment about 200 yards from the SUV. The driver and sole occupant of the Volvo truck, who had been wearing his seat belt, was not injured in the crash.

One of two people ejected from a stolen SUV, Tanya Gil, 31, died at the scene of yesterday’s wreck. Marc Danielian photo

While officials worked at the scene, they called for the temporary closure of Gilman Springs Rd., between Sanderson Ave. and Bridge St. The roadway was reopened several hours later, around 3 p.m.

CHP’s investigation is ongoing and according to Meyer, “Alcohol and drugs and have yet to be ruled out as contributing factors in determining the cause of this collision.”

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

Click any image to open full-size gallery.

Eddie George/Hemet News video

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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