Two critically injured, airlifted after Anza head-on crash
ANZA — Two motorists were airlifted with critical injuries after a head-on collision in Anza Monday afternoon, Feb. 17. The accident, which happened on SR-371, just east of Lake Riverside Dr., caused the temporary closure of the rural, two lane highway, according to CHP.
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CHP, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire, and other emergency personnel were dispatched to the crash just after 4:30 p.m., CHP spokesman Officer Mike Lassig reported after the accident.
When officials arrived they found two wrecked vehicles with major front-end damage. Both drivers were trapped inside their wrecked vehicles and required extrication, according to Cal Fire.
Firefighters work to extricate a seriously injured Camp Pendleton man from his heavily damaged Honda. Cal Fire photo
After evaluating the two drivers and assessing their major injuries, firefighters requested two air ambulances respond to the scene; at which time Mercy and REACH helicopters were launched to the location.
After firefighters used the “Jaws of Life” to cut the two victims from their heavily damaged vehicles, both were flown to area hospitals with critical injuries; with one life-flighted to Inland Valley Medical Center and the other flown to Desert Regional Medical Center.
During their subsequent investigation, CHP determined that just before the accident 23-year-old, Conner Littler, of La Quinta, was driving a 2007 Ford Explorer eastbound on SR-371, just east of Lake Riverside Dr., according to Lassig. At the same time, James Weaver, 25, a Bountiful Utah man currently residing at Camp Pendleton, was driving a 2018 Honda Accord westbound on SR-371.
“For unknown reasons at this time, Littler made an unsafe turning movement causing him to lose control of his Ford,” explained Lassig.
As the SUV careened across the roadway, it crossed the painted solid double yellow lines and into the westbound traffic lane, where it plowed head-on into Weaver’s Honda.
“Both vehicle’s sustained major damage and came to rest blocking the westbound traffic lane,” said Lassig.
A Mercy Air Ambulance prepares for a victim to be loaded into their helicopter while a REACH Air Ambulance circles overhead, waiting to land and airlift a second victim.
While officials worked at the scene, CHP called for the temporary closure of the westbound lanes of the highway; however, the roadway was re-opened about 30 minutes later.
CHP later reported that although both victims were seriously injured their injuries could have been much worse had the drivers not been wearing their seat belts.
CHP’s investigation is ongoing.
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Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department photos
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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.