Medical crisis may have led to fatal Banning big-rig wreck

BANNING — The driver of a tractor-trailer semi-truck who crashed into a passenger vehicle in Banning Tuesday, Feb. 26, was later pronounced deceased and may have suffered a medical crisis just prior to the wreck, CHP officials reported today. The crash and subsequent investigation and cleanup caused significant delays for eastbound commuters heading through the Pass area.

Two other people, whose SUV was partially crushed by the big-rig’s tandem trailers, were uninjured in yesterday afternoon’s deadly crash, which happened on the eastbound Interstate 10, east of Highland Springs Ave.


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CHP and other emergency personnel were dispatched to the collision around 1:24 p.m., after receiving multiple reports of the accident.

When officials arrived, they found a 2017 Mack truck with a double set of bottom-dump trailers, that had crashed into a blue, 2004 Toyota Highlander. The SUV was crushed and wedged between the truck’s trailers and the freeway’s center divider.

Emergency personnel work to revive a truck driver who was later pronounced deceased, following yesterday afternoon’s crash. EN3 News photo

Paramedics found the truck driver unresponsive in the rig’s driver’s seat and were unable to revive the man. He was rushed by ground ambulance to San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced deceased a short time later. The victim, described only as a 59-year-old Banning resident, has not yet been publicly identified, pending notification of the man’s family.

Neither of the Toyota’s female occupants were injured in the collision.

During their preliminary, on-scene investigation, CHP determined that just before the crash the Mack truck had been traveling eastbound in the I-10’s slow lane at approximately 55 mph, CHP spokesperson Officer Darren Meyer later explained. At the same time, the Toyota was also traveling east, just ahead of the big-rig.

“For reasons not yet known, the Mack truck drifted left from the slow lane, into the number 3 lane, then into the number 2 lane, and finally into the fast lane where it collided with the passenger side of the Toyota Highlander,” said Meyer. “The Mack truck continued drifting in a northeast direction, pushing the Toyota Highlander into the center median and pinning it against the center median barrier wall.”

CHP’s investigation is ongoing and officers are working with the Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner’s officials to determine if a prior medical condition may have been a contributing factor or cause in the deadly collision.

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Trevor Montgomery, 47, moved last year 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 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.