San Jacinto man, 46, ID’d after fiery wreck

UPDATED: Monday, Sept. 2, 12:30 p.m.

See Original Story, photos and video below

SAN JACINTO — Authorities have identified a man who died in a fiery wreck after crashing into a San Jacinto tree early yesterday morning, Sunday Sept. 1. The victim’s vehicle exploded after the tremendous impact, and the ensuing vehicle blaze sparked a vegetation fire that firefighters spent about thirty minutes knocking down.

Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner officials last night identified Michael Anthony Vega, 46, of San Jacinto as the man killed in the high-speed crash. A coroner’s release indicated Vega died when he was ejected from his 2018 Dodge Charger. He was pronounced deceased at the scene at 1:10 a.m.

According to CHP officials, Vega was traveling northbound on State St., south of Soboba Rd. at a high rate of speed and previously reported from the scene that witnesses saw him driving at over 100 mph just moments before the crash.

CHP has not yet ruled out alcohol and/or drug intoxication as possible contributing factors in the crash pending toxicology results and their investigation into the deadly crash is ongoing.

Original Story: San Jacinto man, 46, ejected & killed in fiery, 100 mph wreck

SAN JACINTO — Authorities say a 46-year-old San Jacinto man died after losing control of his speeding vehicle and plowing head-on into a San Jacinto tree earlier this morning, Sunday, Sept. 1.

The accident, which happened on State St., just south of Soboba Rd. and north of Record St., caused the victim to be ejected from his vehicle; which exploded and burst into flames upon impact. The car fire then ignited a vegetation fire. It was not immediately known if the victim was wearing a seat-belt at the time of the crash, according to CHP.

Witnesses from as far as several blocks away later reported seeing the vehicle traveling at over 100 mph just moments before hearing a loud boom followed by an explosion.


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CHP, along with Riverside County Sheriff’s and Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire departments and other emergency personnel, were dispatched to the scene just after 1 a.m., after receiving reports of a vehicle that had smashed into a tree and burst into flames, CHP Sgt. Brian King later reported from the scene.

Deputies arrived within minutes of the dispatched call and confirmed finding a vehicle fully engulfed in flames and updated that the car fire had begun to spread to nearby vegetation.

A 46-year-old San Jacinto man was killed after crashing into a tree early this morning. Officials later said witnesses reported seeing the victim’s vehicle traveling at over 100 mph moments before the collision. Drew Spinner photo

More than two dozen Cal Fire and Soboba firefighters and paramedics soon arrived at the scene and spent about thirty minutes knocking down the vegetation blaze ignited by the vehicle fire. The impact left the car, which was later described as a 2018 Dodge Charger, destroyed and completely unrecognizable.

The driver and sole-occupant of the vehicle, who has only been identified as a 46-year-old San Jacinto resident, suffered major traumatic injuries when he was ejected from his car and was pronounced deceased at the scene. His name has not yet been released, pending further investigation and notification of the man’s family.

Firefighters survey the destruction and sort through the damage of a fiery wreck that killed a man after a fatal, high-speed crash earlier this morning. RVC News photo

During their subsequent investigation, CHP officers determined the driver of the Dodge had been traveling northbound on State St. at a high rate of speed, when “for reasons still under investigation the vehicle went off the roadway and collided into a tree,” King reported.

“As a result of the impact, the driver was ejected out of the vehicle and the vehicle caught on fire,” the Sgt. continued; saying, “The tree that it struck then caught on fire as well.”

The tremendous, high-speed collision left vehicle parts and debris scattered across more than 100 yards of the roadway, leaving it blocked and impassable.

As their investigation continued, CHP located and interviewed at least one witness who told them they were ordering food at a Del Taco in the area of State St. and Ramona Expressway when they saw the victim’s vehicle race by.

The witness “put the vehicle at over 100 mph”, according to the Sgt.

Officials spent several hours cleaning up and removing extensive debris left by the fiery, high speed wreck. John Strangis/RMG News photo

While officials worked at the scene and cleaned up extensive debris left by the crash they called for the temporary closure of State St. The road remain closed for several hours, and was re-opened around 4 a.m.

Alcohol and/or drug intoxication have not been ruled out as contributing factors in the fiery wreck and CHP’s investigation into the deadly crash is ongoing.

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

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John Strangis/RMG News photos above

RVC News photos above

Drew Spinner/Hemet News videos below (Volume Warning)

Drew Spinner/Hemet News video
Drew Spinner/Hemet News video

Contact the writer:

Trevor Montgomery, 48, 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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