Wildomar Motorcyclist Killed on I-15 At Winchester Road While Splitting Lanes identified
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The Riverside County Coroners Office has identified Sithidej Phouphet, a 44-year-old resident of Wildomar, as the motorcyclist who was killed in Thursday’s fatal motorcycle accident involving a BMW and a tandem trailer big rig on the southbound I-15 just north of Winchester Road.
According to CHP Officer Lassig, Phouphet had reportedly been “splitting lanes” between the #1 and # 2 lanes at the time of the fatal accident. Traffic was reportedly moving at 20-25 m.p.h. and Phouphet was estimated by witnesses to have been traveling at approximately 45-50 m.p.h. when a BMW signaled and began to merge from the #1 to the #2 lanes of traffic. In a prior press release, Officer Lassig stated that due to Phouphet’s rate of speed, he was not able to react in time and collided with the passenger side of the BMW.
After crashing into the right side of the BMW, Phouphet was thrown from his motorcycle into the #3 lane of traffic, directly into the path of the tandem trailer big-rig. The driver of the big rig was so traumatized by what had happened, CHP officers requested assistance from the Trauma Intervention Program to assist with the distraught semi-truck driver. TIP is a non-profit volunteer-based program developed to provide support and assistance to those traumatically affected in emergency situations.
In a previous press release Lassig wrote, “The motorcycle rider landed and was caught underneath the big rig’s left rear tractor tire area and drug approximately 600 feet before dislodging from the tractor’s left rear wheel area.”
Phouphet was pronounced deceased at the scene by paramedics from American Medical Response. According to Lassig, no other injuries were reported.
For Valley News
One man has died following a fatal traffic collision on I-15 this morning. The man, who has yet to be identified pending notification of next of kin, was a 44-year-old from Wildomar, according to a CHP press release.
CHP Officer Mike Lassig explained that the accident occurred at approximately 6:45 a.m. this morning, when the Wildomar man, riding his 2005 Kawasaki ZX-1 motorcycle, was involved in a fatal traffic collision involving a BMW X5 and a big rig pulling two 28′ trailers. The accident occurred on the southbound I-15 freeway, just north of Winchester Road.
Witnesses at the scene of the fatal accident described the morning traffic as moderate to heavy and moving slowly. Witnesses estimated the speed of traffic to be approximately 25 m.p.h. moments before the collision, Lassig reported in the release.
Numerous witnesses described seeing the unidentified motorcyclist splitting the lanes of traffic, between the #1 and #2 lanes, just prior to the accident. Witnesses estimated the motorcyclist’s speed to be approximately 45 to 50 m.p.h. at the time of the initial collision.
As the motorcyclist was travelling between the #1 and #2 lanes, he struck a BMW making a lane change from the #1 lane to the #2 lane. Just prior to the collision, the driver of the BMW, described as a 41-year-old male from Murrieta, signaled his intention to change lanes and then began to do so.
According to Lassig, due to the motorcyclist’s rate of speed and the fact the rider was splitting traffic lanes, he was unable to avoid colliding with the passenger side of the BMW. The collision ejected the rider from his motorcycle, causing him to be thrown into the #3 lane of traffic, directly into the path of the big-rig.
In a press release Lassig wrote, “The motorcycle rider landed and was caught underneath the big rig’s left rear tractor tire area and drug approximately 600 feet before dislodging from the tractor’s left rear wheel area.”
The motorcyclist was pronounced deceased at the scene at 6:52 a.m. by paramedics from American Medical Response. According to Lassig, no other injuries were reported.
Three lanes of southbound traffic were closed for approximately three hours while Highway Patrol officers investigated the accident which caused southbound traffic to back up more than eight miles.
According to Lassig, all lanes of traffic were re-opened at 9:43 a.m., however traffic remained slow through the area for several more hours.
UPDATE #2: Thursday, Nov. 5 at 11:44 a.m.
For Valley News
As of 11:30 a.m. CHP Officer Mike Lassig verified that early reports indicating a fatal traffic collision this morning involved an active duty Marine to be false.
Initially responding fire personnel found the deceased motorcyclist to be wearing military style uniform and boots, leading them to believe the downed motorcyclist to be an active duty member of the armed services.
Lassig stated his agency had already contacted the Marine Corps Base at Camp Pendleton and confirmed the rider was not listed as an active duty member, however they could not confirm at the time whether the rider was a reservist or a veteran of the Marine Corps.
For Valley News
At 6:47 a.m. the California Highway Patrol was dispatched to the report of a major traffic collision on the southbound 15 freeway just north of Winchester Road. Multiple callers to the CHP Dispatch Center reported that a motorcyclist had crashed after somehow colliding with or making contact with a semi-truck.
Callers reported the accident occurred during a lane change of one or more of the involved vehicles. Early reports indicated a third vehicle, a black BMW might also have been involved in the accident, however that has yet to be confirmed.
The first CHP officer arrived at 6:58 a.m. and immediately notified dispatch that all lanes of the southbound freeway were blocked due to the wreckage and would likely remain so for the next 30-45 minutes. At that time CHP issued an initial SIG Alert for the area and notified the Riverside Sheriff’s Department and the Murrieta Police Department it would need assistance with redirecting traffic at multiple points along the section of affected freeway.
At 7:07 a.m., CHP updated that the motorcycle rider involved in this incident had succumbed to his injuries at the scene and the SIG Alert for the area would continue for an indefinite amount of time to allow for a full investigation into this fatal accident to be conducted.
At 7:13 a.m., at the CHP requested assistance from the Trauma Intervention Programs to assist with the grieving and distraught semi-truck driver who had been involved in the fatal collision. TIP is a non-profit volunteer-based program developed to provide support and assistance to those traumatically affected in emergency situations.
At just after 8 a.m. the Riverside County Coroner called in to say they were en-route to the location, however they were stuck in the freeway backup. CHP described the backup more than eight miles in both directions due to the fatal accident.
At 8:45 a.m. CHP requested all local media be contacted due to the ongoing SIG Alert and major congestion through the vital passageway between Riverside and San Diego Counties.
Jennifer Fuhrman from the Riverside County Fire Department, confirmed her department was involved in assisting at the scene of this accident. The fire department responded to the scene of the collision with multiple firefighters as well as two engine companies.
An incident fact sheet prepared by Fuhrman reported, “CAL FIRE/Riverside County Firefighters are on scene of a traffic collision involving a motorcycle and a big rig in Temecula.”
There were no other injuries reported.
All lanes are open but residual effects will cause traffic back-ups for the foreseeable future, according to CHP. The Sig Alert will be in effect until 10:30 a.m.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.
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