CHP: Illegal passing leads to fatal Gilman Springs crash

MORENO VALLEY — A Hemet man died in a three-vehicle head-on crash last night, Sunday, April 14. Although fire officials initially reported that two people perished at the scene of the accident, they later corrected that only one person had been killed.

CHP has since determined that the fatal crash, which happened west of Allesandro Blvd. on Gilman Springs Rd., was caused by a driver who was passing slower moving vehicles in a no passing zone along the rural, two lane road.

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CHP, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire, and other emergency personnel, were dispatched to the collision around 7:18 p.m., after receiving reports of the three-vehicle crash. 911 callers reported there were multiple victims involved, with some possibly trapped inside their vehicles, according to a CHP incident log.

When officials arrived they found two heavily damaged vehicles that had been involved in a head-on crash. A third vehicle that plowed through debris from the first collision was stopped nearby. Firefighters confirmed several people were trapped inside the vehicles and used the “Jaws of Life” to extricate the injured victims.

A 49-year-old Hemet man died in a three-vehicle head-on traffic collision on Gilman Springs Rd., west of Allesandro last night. Juana Ady Del Cid photo

The wreckage of the three vehicles left both directions of travel blocked and impassable, forcing CHP to close the roadway and issue a SigAlert for the area.

Fire and rescue personnel determined eight people were inside the three vehicles at the time of the crash. Despite life-saving efforts, one of the drivers succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene. Officials have not yet released the victim’s name, pending notification of the man’s family.

Three of those injured in the crash, including two victims with major injuries and another with minor to moderate injuries, were eventually transported by ground ambulances to Riverside University Health System for further treatment. Four other victims involved in the collision were treated at the scene for various minor injuries and all four declined further medical treatment.

Last night’s fatal crash was caused by a driver who passed a slower moving vehicle in a no passing zone along the two lane roadway, according to CHP. Juana Ady Del Cid photo

During their subsequent investigation, CHP determined that just before the crash Duc Lam, a 27-year-old, Santa Ana resident and his passenger, Lina Vo, 24, of Monrovia, had been traveling westbound on Gilman Springs Rd. in a white, 2017 BMW 431i. At the same time, a 49-year-old Hemet resident was traveling eastbound in a blue, 1998 Ford Taurus. The third vehicle, a black, 2011 Honda Accord being driven by Cesar Gonzalez was also traveling westbound, behind Lam’s BMW.

“In a section of road divided by double, solid yellow lines, Lam passed a slower moving westbound vehicle,” CHP Officer Darren Myer later reported. “While doing so, the westbound BMW collided head-on into the eastbound Ford Taurus.” The Honda was then struck by debris from the head-on collision, according to Meyer.

CHP reopened the roadway several hours later, at the conclusion of their initial on-scene investigation.

Although alcohol and drugs have been ruled out as contributing factors in the collision, CHP’s investigation into the cause of the crash is ongoing.

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


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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