Fleeing from deputies after San Jacinto robbery, suspect killed in fiery Nuevo crash

NUEVO — A man who officials say was fleeing from deputies after committing an armed robbery in San Jacinto was fatally ejected from his car when he plowed into another vehicle Tuesday afternoon, March 24. The tremendous impact tore the alleged suspect’s car in half, causing it to burst into flames.

Two others from another vehicle were injured and hospitalized after the fiery crash, which happened on Ramona Expressway near Hanson Blvd., in the unincorporated community of Nuevo.

The stretch of expressway where the accident happened, about halfway between the cities of Perris and San Jacinto, has been the site of countless recent fatal and major collisions and several crosses and roadside memorials could be seen within close proximity to where one half of the suspect’s destroyed vehicle eventually came to rest. Area residents have long called for much needed improvements, such as concrete K-Rails separating the east and westbound lanes of travel.


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Tuesday’s deadly incident began at 1:18 p.m., when deputies from the San Jacinto Sheriff’s Station responded to reports of an armed robbery that had just occurred at a business on the 2200 block of W. Esplanade Ave. in San Jacinto, Sheriff’s officials explained in a social media release after the fatal wreck. CHP later described the business as a smoke shop.

The suspect was speeding away from the area in a Ford Mustang when a deputy spotted the fleeing vehicle according to CHP, who reported, “When the suspect saw the sheriff’s patrol vehicle, the suspect sped off.”

Witnesses later reported that as the suspect sped westbound on Ramona Expressway near Hanson Blvd. he lost control of his vehicle while attempting to pass a line of cars. As the Mustang careened out of control it plowed nearly head-on into an oncoming pickup truck.

One witness described seeing the alleged suspect’s body “flying through the air” after the fiery collision that ended Tuesday’s pursuit. The man fatally ejected in the crash is believed to have just robbed a San Jacinto business, according to sheriff’s and CHP officials. Terry Pierson photo

“The suspect was ejected from his vehicle and died as a result of his injuries,” said sheriff’s officials.

The alleged suspect killed in the collision has not yet been publicly identified, pending further investigation and notification of the man’s family.

A man and woman from the pickup truck involved in the crash were transported to an area hospital for treatment of injuries Cal Fire later described as moderate.

Based on the circumstances, Sheriff’s Central Homicide Unit investigators responded to the scene and assumed the investigation.

Officials were later seen scouring the area for personal belongings and other items thrown from the suspect’s Mustang and scattered among vehicle parts and debris that was spread across several hundred feet of roadway. One of those items recovered at the scene was a black handgun, which was found in the roadway some distance from where the collision occurred.

The expressway was closed for several hours while officials conducted their initial, on-scene investigation.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is encouraged to contact Central Homicide Investigator Barajas at (760) 393-3522 or (951) 955-2777.

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Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

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.