UPDATE: INDIO: 15-year-old girl struck by several vehicles and big-rig on I-10 Freeway ID’d
UPDATE: 1/5/2016 1 p.m.
INDIO – Riverside County coroner officials identified the victim of last night’s fatal incident on the Interstate 10 Freeway east of the Jackson Street overpass as 15-year-old Elizabeth Castro Leon.
Castro Leon, a resident of Indio, died when she either fell or jumped onto the I-10 Freeway from the Jackson Street overpass.
A California Highway Patrol incident log revealed that just moments before CHP emergency dispatchers received initial reports that the girl had been hit, City of Indio Police Department dispatchers received several calls reporting a female who was seen standing on the Jackson Street bridge, overlooking the freeway.
The deadly incident caused a SigAlert and forced the closure of all eastbound lanes of the I-10 Freeway while CHP officials investigated the girl’s death. The closure caused traffic to back up for several miles.
The freeway was re-opened about four hours later, according to CHP officials.
Grief counselors were made available to fellow students at Indio High School, where Castro Leon was a student, according to Desert Sands Unified School District spokeswoman Mary Perry.
CHP officials have not yet determined how the teenager ended up in the lanes of traffic on the freeway. Their investigation is ongoing.
Anyone with information about Castro Leon’s death or who witnessed the incident is encouraged to contact CHP officials from the Indio area station at (760) 772-8911. Callers can remain anonymous.
INDIO – A female who either jumped or fell from an overpass onto the eastbound lanes of the Interstate 10 Freeway was fatally struck by several vehicles, including at least one tractor-trailer semi-truck, Wednesday, Jan. 4.
The incident happened near Jackson Street in Indio and led to the full closure of all eastbound lanes of traffic.
The deadly incident was reported by numerous witnesses to California Highway Patrol emergency dispatchers at 5:34 p.m.
The unidentified victim suffered major traumatic injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to a CHP incident log and later confirmed by a CHP dispatcher.
The victim was described as possibly a Hispanic female adult, wearing a grey hoodie and a backpack.
Police have not yet determined if the victim jumped or fell from the Jackson Street overpass; however, Indio Police Department officials reported their department had received one or more calls reporting a woman matching the victim’s description on the Jackson Street overpass minutes before the calls began flooding into CHP’s emergency dispatch center.
The incident was first called in to CHP emergency dispatchers as a body spotted in the center of the number one and two lanes of traffic. Callers reported that vehicles were swerving around the body and nearly striking the woman.
Within moments the first of several calls came in from motorists, including a big-rig driver, who tearfully reported having struck or run over the victim’s body.
Another truck driver, who believed he had possibly run over the victim immediately pulled over, ran back to the victim’s body and confirmed the woman had possibly been struck several times. He then tried in vain to slow traffic and divert vehicles away from the victim’s body.
Within minutes, the right hand side of the eastbound freeway was lined with cars, some damaged, with motorists that had either struck and run over the victim’s body or swerved to avoid the body. Other drivers sat on the side of the road crying from what they had seen.
By 5:45 p.m. CHP and other officials had begun the process of closing down the freeway’s eastbound lanes at the Jackson Street off-ramp. It was unclear how long the freeway would remain closed.
Eastbound freeway traffic quickly backed up for several miles, as traffic was being diverted off the interstate at the Jackson Street off ramp and then allowed back onto the freeway at the Jackson Street on ramp.
Coroner’s and CalTrans officials were summoned to the location, however neither were expected to arrive until at least 6:45 p.m., over an hour after the incident was first reported.
CHP officials issued a SigAlert shortly after 7 p.m., while they continued their investigation into the deadly incident. Officials did not provide any information when the freeway would be reopened to through traffic.
Several drivers who had struck the victim or witnessed the incident parked in a nearby Target shopping center parking lot, waiting to be interviewed by officials. Some sat crying or holding their heads in their hands, wondering if they could have done anything to avoid striking the victim.
This is a developing story. More information will be updated as it becomes available.
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Trevor Montgomery 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 in an off-duty accident.
During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations, including the Robert Presley Detention Center, the Southwest Station in Temecula, the Hemet Station, and the Lake Elsinore Station, along with many 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, Personnel and Background Investigations and he finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator.
Trevor has been married for more than 26 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and has 13 children and 12 – soon to be 13 – grandchildren.