Reckless driving leaves one dead after fatal Cabazon crash

CABAZON — One person was killed and two others were hospitalized after a two-vehicle, double rollover traffic collision in Cabazon Tuesday morning, Sept. 3. The deadly crash, which CHP said was caused by reckless driving and speeding, happened on the I-10 Freeway, east of Main St.


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CHP, Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire, Morongo Fire Department, and other emergency personnel were dispatched to the scene shortly after 10 a.m., after receiving reports of a two vehicle collision, CHP spokesperson Officer Darren Meyer has since reported.

When officials arrived they reported finding two vehicles that had overturned down an embankment and off the freeway. The vehicles were described as a blue, 2008 Mercury Grand Marquis and white, 2015 Ford F-250.

A 56-year-old, Albuquerque, New Mexico man was killed and his passenger was seriously injured after a speeding motorist swerved in front of their Ford pickup, causing both vehicles to careen off the freeway and overturn onto an adjacent roadway. Morongo Fire Chief Kevin Gaines photo

Firefighters also reported two victims inside the pickup were trapped and required “extensive extrication” to remove them from their wrecked truck.

Although the passenger of the Ford was eventually extricated from the overturned vehicle and was transported to Desert Regional Medical Center with serious injuries, the driver sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased by Cal-Fire paramedics at the scene, according to Meyer.

The victim’s name has not yet been released.

The other driver who CHP said caused the fatal collision was also transported to San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital with minor injuries.

During their subsequent investigation, CHP determined Masaki Ono, a 51-year-old, Torrance resident, was driving the Mercury eastbound on I-10, east of Main St. At the same time, a 56-year-old man from Albuquerque, New Mexico and his passenger, 43-year-old Rosanna Tussey, also from New Mexico were also traveling eastbound in the Ford pickup.

Witnesses later told CHP that just prior to the collision, Ono was seen driving  in excess of 70 mph and weaving through traffic.

As Ono passed the pickup truck on the left, the driver abruptly changed lanes to the right before fully passing the other vehicle, at which time “the right rear of the Mercury collided with the left front of the Ford,” explained Meyer.

“Both vehicles began to slide sideways, out of control, towards the south road edge of I-10,” Meyer continued. “The vehicles careened down a dirt embankment, south of I-10 and through the freeway perimeter fence.”

As the vehicles left the roadway and crashed through the fence, both overturned, coming to rest on Railroad Ave, which runs adjacent the freeway.

A 51-year-old Torrance resident was hospitalized with minor injuries after this morning’s deadly crash. Morongo Fire Chief Kevin Gaines photo

All occupants were wearing seat belts, according to Meyer; who said alcohol, drugs, distraction, and/or mechanical failure have not been ruled out as contributing factors in the cause of this collision.

The cause of the deadly crash remains under investigation.

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 or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, (the now defunct) Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; 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 29 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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