Pair in stolen car crashes into ambulance & flees before rollover crash
UPDATED: Tuesday, Dec. 10, 10:45 a.m., With clarification and correction of some details.
AGUANGA — Two men who were driving a stolen car when they crashed into an AMR ambulance working at the scene of an Aguanga crash were critically injured after attempting to flee the scene and crashing again, Thursday evening, Dec. 5 . The first crash involving the ambulance happened on SR-79 near the Stagecoach Inn and the second, rollover accident happened a short distance away on SR-79, just west of SR-371.
Both men from the stolen vehicle were ejected when the car overturned and eventually airlifted with major injuries after yesterday’s rollover crash, according to CHP.
LEADING THE RCNS HEADLINES:
CHP, along with Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire and AMR personnel were working at the scene of a non-injury traffic collision on SR-79 just east of Sage Rd. shortly before 8 p.m., when a westbound 1995 Honda Accord struck the AMR ambulance, CHP spokesperson, Officer Mike Lassig reported after the hit and run and rollover crashes. The ambulance had been parked on the right shoulder of the roadway when the first collision occurred, according to Lassig.
After crashing into the ambulance, the driver of the Honda immediately made a U-turn and fled the scene, heading eastbound on SR-79 toward SR-371. After AMR personnel notified CHP regarding the hit and run collision, officers immediately went after the fleeing vehicle and attempted to locate it and its occupants.
CHP officers who began searching for a 1995 Honda Accord that fled after crashing into an ambulance at the scene of another accident located the stolen vehicle after it hit an embankment and overturned. Both occupants were ejected from the vehicle and suffered major injuries, according to officials.
According to Lassig, as the driver continued to flee east on SR-79, he lost control of the stolen Honda just west of SR-371 and careened off the roadway. The Honda then hit a raised embankment on the shoulder of the road, which sent the car overturning off the highway.
Although initial reports from the scene indicated the two men in the Honda led officers on a pursuit, CHP officer Mike Lassig later reported that officers searching for the Honda came upon the stolen vehicle moments after the crash and that officers were not actively pursuing the car when it hit the embankment and overturned.
Both of the men, neither of whom had been wearing their seat belts at the time of the crash, were ejected as the stolen car overturned and both suffered major traumatic injuries. The pair was treated at the scene before both were airlifted to Inland Valley Hospital by Mercy and Reach air ambulances that had been dispatched to the scene.
Neither of the critically injured men has been identified and both are currently listed as unknown by CHP; however, a CHP incident log indicated the men from the car were in their 30s and both sustained major head trauma.
While officers and others worked at the scene of the rollover crash they called for the temporary closure of SR-79 and the roadway remained closed for several hours. As the investigation continued, area motorists and commuters were forced to seek alternate routes and many later reported the crash investigation caused lengthy delays in their travel times.
CHP’s investigation into the two crashes and vehicle theft is ongoing.
This is a developing story that will be updated as new information is available.
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Trevor Montgomery, 48, moved in 2017 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 16 grandchildren.