Not properly wearing seat belt, Elsinore woman ejected after two-car crash

LAKE ELSINORE — Two women, including one who had not been wearing her seat belt properly and was ejected through the sun roof of her vehicle, sustained major injuries after a two-vehicle rollover traffic collision in Lake Elsinore Friday morning, Feb. 21. The crash, which left both women hospitalized with critical injuries, happened on the northbound I-15 Freeway near Railroad Canyon Rd.


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CHP, Cal Fire, and other emergency personnel were alerted to the major injury crash around 11 a.m., CHP Officer Mike Lassig reported after the collision. 911 callers reported one of the vehicles overturned several times and that its driver was ejected and possibly crushed by her own overturning vehicle. Callers also reported the other driver was possibly tapped inside her wrecked vehicle.

Officials who responded to the scene found the northbound lanes of the freeway were blocked by vehicle parts and debris, with vehicles attempting to bypass the scene of the crash by using the freeway’s dirt shoulders and median.

Responding officials found two woman who had been seriously injured, including one who had not been wearing a seat belt and was ejected through the sunroof of her Subaru Forester. ABC7 images

Paramedics immediately began evaluating and treating the injured drivers, while firefighters used the “Jaws of Life” to extricate one of the trapped drivers from the mangled wreckage of her heavily damaged car.

Both women suffered major injuries and were transported by AMR ground ambulances to Inland Valley Medical Center for further treatment. Their current conditions were unknown as of this article.

CHP officers who investigated the cause of the crash determined that just before the collision both vehicles had been traveling northbound on I-15 just south of Railroad Canyon Rd. 

According to Lassig, Carolyn Leak, 79, of Lake Elsinore, was driving a 1999 Mercedes-Benz CLK320 in the number three lane at 65-70 mph. At the same time, Melissa Brasington, 45, of Lake Elsinore, was driving a 2017 Subaru Forester approaching Leak’s vehicle from behind.

Witnesses told officers that moments before the collision they observed Brasington in the Forester traveling illegally on the right-hand shoulder at a high rate of speed approaching Leak in the Mercedes.

As Brasington neared Leak’s vehicle, she suddenly veered across the lanes of travel, where she plowed into the back of the Leak’s sedan.

The force of the impact caused the Mercedes to careen out of control and up onto the right shoulder and embankment, where her car then smashed into a steel freeway sign pole. Leak’s heavily damaged car then continued back down the embankment, where it came to rest on the right shoulder area of the freeway.

The impact also caused Brasington’s Subaru to begin spinning out of control before it overturned, coming to rest on its wheels in the northbound lanes of the freeway.

While the Subaru was rolling over, Brasington – who was not wearing her seat belt properly according to Lassig – was ejected through her vehicle’s sun roof onto the freeway, where she was possibly struck by her own vehicle as it overturned.

The crash and subsequent cleanup forced CHP to issue a Sig-Alert while officers and others worked at the scene, causing the freeway to quickly back up several miles. The freeway remained closed for several hours, causing major delays in commute times for area motorists.

Lassig later used the opportunity to remind citizens to always wear their seat belts, saying, “Always buckle up and wear your seat belt. Wearing your seat belt can save your life and prevent injuries.”

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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.