UPDATE: SJ man, 20, ID’d after fiery head-on wreck

UPDATED: Wednesday, Oct. 31, 11:20 a.m.

See original story, photos, and video below.

SAN JACINTO — Officials have identified a man who died in a fiery head-on crash into a San Jacinto tree yesterday morning, Tuesday, Oct. 30. The deadly crash happened on N. Alessandro St., south of Ramona Expressway.

Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner officials identified 20-year-old, San Jacinto resident, Jacob Gurrola as the victim who died after his silver Chevy HHR slammed into a tree that was encased in a brick and concrete structure and burst into flames.

Gurrola was pronounced deceased by paramedics at 5:34 a.m., after firefighters managed to extinguish the blaze that consumed the victim’s SUV.

CHP is still working to rule out alcohol or drug intoxication, but have said that heavy fog throughout the valley yesterday may have played a contributing role in the deadly crash. Toxicology results for the victim are still pending and CHP’s investigation is ongoing.


UPDATED: Tuesday, Oct. 30, 1:15 p.m.

See original story, photos, and video below.

CHP releases additional details after driver killed in fiery San Jacinto wreck

SAN JACINTO — CHP has released additional details about a solo-vehicle fiery wreck that killed a driver in San Jacinto earlier this morning.

CHP spokesperson Darren Meyer said in a written press release that the driver, who remains unidentified at this time, was driving northbound on Alessandro Ave., south of Ramona Expressway, “when for reasons not yet known, the driver allowed his vehicle to drift left, across the southbound lanes of Alessandro Avenue and off the paved portion of the roadway.”

“The vehicle collided with a concrete planter box and subsequently caught fire,” Meyer explained.

It was not immediately known if heavy fog reported throughout the valley this morning may have contributed to the deadly crash.

“Alcohol, drugs, and any medical conditions, have yet to be ruled out as contributing factors in determining the cause of this collision,” said Meyer.

This is a developing story that will be updated as new information is available.



ORIGINAL STORY: Driver dead after fiery San Jacinto wreck

SAN JACINTO — Officials have confirmed a person died in a solo-vehicle head-on crash in San Jacinto early this morning, Tuesday, Oct. 30. The deadly crash happened when an SUV plowed into a tree on the 22000 block of N. Alessandro Ave., just south of Ramona Expressway.


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CHP, San Jacinto PD, Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire, and other emergency personnel, were dispatched to the scene of the fiery wreck shortly after 5:10 a.m., after receiving reports of the solo-vehicle crash. 911 callers also reported the driver of the SUV was possibly trapped inside the burning wreckage of the vehicle.

Officials confirmed one person was killed in a solo-vehicle fiery wreck after an SUV plowed head-on into a tree enclosed in a brick structure. Miguel Shannon/OC Hawk News photo

When officials arrived they found a silver Chevy HHR that had plowed head-on into a tree and burst into flames. The Chevy was fully engulfed and appeared to have a sole occupant in the driver’s seat of the heavily-damaged and burning vehicle.

After firefighter’s extinguished the blaze they used the “Jaws of Life” to gain access into the wrecked SUV and the victim inside. Once inside the Chevy firefighters and paramedics confirmed the driver had succumbed to injuries sustained in the collision and subsequent fire.

After confirming the victim’s death officials requested Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner officials to the scene and covered the driver’s body inside the still smoldering SUV with a yellow tarp.

Officials have not yet released the victim’s name pending further investigation, positive identification, and notification of the victim’s family.

While firefighters worked at the scene, CHP investigated the cause of the crash and determined the Chevy had been traveling north on Alessandro when their vehicle left the road and slammed head-on into a large tree that was encased in a four-foot tall brick structure that surrounded the entire tree.

The impact destroyed both the vehicle and brick structure, and ripped the large, full-growth tree from the ground – causing the Chevy to burst into flames. The fire first burned from the engine compartment before spreading into the SUV’s interior, consuming most of the vehicle.

While officials worked at the scene and cleaned up debris that was strewn across the roadway, CHP called for the temporary closure of Alessandro in both directions. The roadway was reopened after coroner officials took custody of the victim’s body and CHP concluded their initial on-scene investigation. The destroyed Chevy was eventually towed from the scene.

Although the posted speed limit on Alessandro is 45 mph, it was not immediately known how fast the victim had been traveling when they plowed into the tree and brick structure.

CHP has not yet released any information regarding this crash and their investigation is ongoing.

This is a developing story that will be updated as new information is available.

Click any image to open full-size gallery.

Miguel Shannon video


Contact the writer: [email protected]

Trevor Montgomery, 47, recently moved to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle, and Anza Valley Outlook; 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 28 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 14 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.