UPDATE: More details emerge after sisters killed in Menifee crash that critically injured their mother
UPDATED: Sunday, Jan. 26, 2:50 p.m.
See Original Story below.
MENIFEE — A second victim has died after a three-vehicle wreck in Menifee that also critically injured the two sister’s mother Friday night, Jan. 24.
According to the victims’ grieving family, the trio were returning home from their “weekly bingo run” when a speeding motorist plowed into the back of another car. The tremendous impact sent one of the two vehicles somersaulting over a center median, where it then smashed into the victims’ car.
The deadly collision was the second fatal crash to occur in southwest Riverside County on Friday. The first accident, which happened less than twelve miles away on Winchester Rd., just north of Scott Rd., killed both drivers, according to fire officials.
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In the wake of the tragedy, family members have identified sisters, Benita Hayden and Tina Slatten, as the pair killed in the collision. The women’s mother, Sharon Waldman, remains hospitalized in critical condition. She suffered internal bleeding as well as two broken legs and two broken ankles, according to family members, who said the “beloved grandmother” has already undergone several surgeries.
None of the women’s ages or hometowns were immediately known.
Sisters, Benita Hayden and Tina Slatten were killed and their mother, Sharon Waldman was critically injured when a motorist struck the rear of another car. The impact sent one of the two vehicles catapulting end over end, where it then struck the victims’ car. Calista Magee photo
Although some witnesses later reported that racing or speeding may have led to the deadly crash, officials from the Perris Sheriff Station’s Traffic Reconstruction Team who are investigating the fatal collision have not yet publicly confirmed either was a contributing factor.
In a media release published yesterday afternoon, Riverside Sheriff’s Sgt. Dominic Schreiber reported that the sheriff’s preliminary investigation into the fatal wreck revealed a vehicle traveling eastbound on Railroad Canyon Rd. plowed into the back of a vehicle that was also traveling eastbound.
“One of the vehicles then crossed over the center divider and collided with a vehicle traveling westbound,” Schrieber explained.
One witness, Facebook user Adri Enne, later described seeing the “awful” crash. She said that immediately after the collision she was one of several motorists and good Samaritans who ran to the aid of the two dying women and their mother.
“I watched the car flip in my rear view mirror. It was so terrible,” Adri Enne described on social media; writing, “Those are images I’ll never get out of my head.”
“His actions have forever impacted our family.”
Although Riverside County Sheriff’s Department is continuing to investigate the cause of the deadly crash and have not released many details related to their ongoing investigation, family members allege that drunk and reckless driving caused the three-vehicle wreck that killed the sisters and critically injured their mother.
“They were struck head-on by an SUV operated by a drunk driver,” family members alleged in a gofundme fundraiser created in the aftermath of the double fatality. “His actions have forever impacted our family.”
One family was left grieving and “forever impacted” after a speeding motorist caused a three vehicle wreck that killed two sisters and injured their mother. The trio was returning home from a fun night out playing Bingo when the deadly crash occurred. Amanda Mitchell photo
“Tina Slatten instantly lost her life at the scene,” Amanda Mitchell wrote in the gofundme fundraiser. “Benita Hayden succumbed to her injuries while being rushed to an area hospital.”
“Benita and Tina were both loving mothers and doting grandmothers” who were known as “mom” throughout the community, according to Mitchell; who has since said the women’s mother, Sharon reportedly only learned of her daughters’ passing “right before doctors were to begin her first of many life-saving operations” at Loma Linda Hospital in Murrieta.
“Currently Grandma Sharon is not only fighting for her life but suffering the unimaginable loss of both her daughters,” Mitchell explained in the gofundme; while asking for help with funeral costs for the sisters killed in the crash. Donated funds will also be used to help with covering Waldman’s extensive medical bills and other expenses. As of this update the account had raised about $1,500 toward the family’s stated goal of $8,500.
Family members have since thanked the community for the “overwhelming support and love” shown their family “during this most difficult time.”
Anyone who may have witnessed this collision and has not yet been interviewed is encouraged to contact Deputy Maldonado at the Riverside County Sheriff’s Perris Station at (951) 210-1077. Callers can refer to incident file number CN200240016 and can remain anonymous.
Original Story: Witnesses say racing may have led to deadly Menifee crash
MENIFEE — At least one person has died and four others were hospitalized after a multi-vehicle crash in Menifee last night, Friday, Jan. 24.
Several witnesses to the deadly collision have since come forward with information that two of the involved vehicles appeared to have been racing just before the fatal wreck, which happened where Railroad Canyon Rd. turns into Newport Rd., west of Goetz Rd.
The pileup caused the overnight closure of Railroad Canyon/Newport road, while deputies and other officials worked at the scene and investigated the cause of the accident.
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Emergency personnel were first alerted to last night’s crash shortly before 10 p.m., after numerous witnesses began calling 911 to report the accident.
More than a dozen firefighters and several ambulance crews were among those dispatched to the scene of the crash, Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire officials later reported via social media.
Responding rescue personnel found a chaotic scene, with multiple involved wrecked and overturned vehicles scattered across the roadway. Leesa Hall photo
When officials arrived at the crash across from Canyon Lake Community Church they found a chaotic scene, with wrecked and overturned vehicles scattered across the roadway. Vehicle parts and debris, along with a destroyed concrete Canyon Lake sign, were blocking both directions of travel as witnesses and good Samaritans attempted to help any way they could.
Two of the involved vehicles were described as a silver Hyundai Elantra with heavy front-end damage and burgundy SUV overturned on its roof, while another silver or light-colored vehicle sat wrecked nearby.
No description of the fourth possibly involved vehicle was immediately available.
After last night’s deadly crash, Facebook user Adri Enne described the “awful” scene, saying she witnessed the collision and saw the car flip in her rear view mirror. Although she stopped and tried to help the woman who later died at the scene, she said there was nothing she could do for the victim. “Those are images I’ll never get out of my head,” she later said. Adri Enne Facebook photos
While deputies began diverting traffic away from the scene and started to investigate the cause of the crash, firefighters determined at least two victims were trapped in two separate vehicles and used the “Jaws of Life” to begin cutting open the wrecked vehicles so they could rescue and treat them.
About thirty minutes later Cal Fire updated that the trapped and injured occupants from two of the wrecked vehicles had been extricated and rushed to area hospitals with unspecified injuries.
Two other victims were also transported by ground ambulances to area hospitals with moderate injuries, while a fifth victim was determined to have succumbed to her injuries and passed away at the scene, according to fire officials.
The deceased victim’s name has not been released, pending further investigation and notification of the woman’s family.
Firefighters used the “Jaws of Life” to extricate at least two surviving victims from two of the involved vehicles. Calista Magee photo
As word about the deadly crash began to circulate on social media, at least one witness, area resident Leesa Hall, reported on social media that she saw two of the involved vehicles racing just before the deadly collision.
“As I was driving home two cars (drove) past me as they were racing,” Hall wrote online. “A few minutes later, I (drove) up towards (the) multiple car crash.”
“It was so sad,” Hall continued; saying she watched as other motorists and good Samaritans stopped at the scene and began attempting to render aid and comfort to those injured in the accident.
Corona resident Monica Garcia later described what she witnessed on social media, writing, “We pulled up right as it happened.”
“It was an awful scene, with debris all over all lanes,” Garcia continued; saying she saw numerous people running to help the victims, checking pulses, and trying to help any way they could.
Another witness, Canyon Lake resident Calista Magee, said after the fatal crash that her home is located just a short distance from where the collision occurred.
“The crash literally shook our whole house,” Magee described on social media; saying she believed four cars had been involved in the accident.
“Honestly it was hard to see how many cars were involved because the wreckage was everywhere,” Magee described.
Another motorist, Facebook user Adri Enne, later described the “awful” scene.
“I watched the car flip in my rear view mirror. It was so terrible,” she described; saying she tried to help the woman who was later pronounced deceased at the scene.
“Those are images I’ll never get out of my head,” the witness described.
Last night’s deadly crash forced the overnight closure of Railroad Canyon/Newport Rd., while deputies investigated the cause of the fatal wreck. Calista Magee photo
The accident reportedly knocked out electricity to homes in the area, which was not fully restored for several hours, according to officials.
As of around noon this morning, the section of Railroad Canyon/Newport Rd. where the crash occurred was still closed, as deputies continued their investigation.
Contacted for information about the fatal crash, a sheriff’s spokeswoman said the cause of the crash was still under investigation and officials would be releasing more details and information once their initial, on-scene investigation was completed.
This is a developing story that will be updated as new information becomes available.
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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.