Speeding in Hemet construction zone leads to head-on crash
HEMET, Calif. — Two people were injured, including one critically, after a speeding car swerved into oncoming traffic after nearly plowing into the back of a vehicle stuck in traffic inside a construction zone, and smashed head-on into an SUV Tuesday afternoon, May 26.
The collision happened on SR-74, east of California Ave., according to officials now investigating the major-injury crash.
The crash was one of two major accidents the same day involving speeding and reckless driving in the Hemet area. The other high-speed, solo-vehicle rollover involved a Dodge Challenger that lost control and overturned inside a residential neighborhood.
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CHP, Cal Fire, and other emergency first responders were dispatched to the collision around 4:30 p.m., after receiving reports of a two-vehicle, head-on traffic accident, official radio traffic at the time indicated.
Although the accident happened outside Hemet’s city limits, Hemet police officers were requested to assist due to CHP officers responding from nearly an hour away.
Witnesses say a speeding and reckless driver in a Hyundai swerved into oncoming traffic after nearly rear-ending another car yesterday afternoon. The unsafe turning movement caused the sedan to plow head-on into an SUV. Timothy Franzese/Public Safety Incidents photo
Police officers and AMR medics were first to arrive at the scene and reported finding two wrecked and heavily-damaged vehicles inside a construction zone, later described as a silver Toyota Highlander and grey Hyundai Sonata.
Officials also reported at least one of the injured drivers was trapped inside their wrecked vehicle and requested firefighters respond with the “Jaws of Life” to free the person.
When firefighters arrived they began a cut and rescue operation to free the critically injured driver, before that person and the other driver were transported to area hospitals.
Their injuries were described as critical and moderate by fire and rescue officials at the scene.
A witness later reported that he was stopped in heavy traffic inside a construction zone while traveling westbound on SR-74, east of California Ave., when the Hyundai “came speeding up” behind him.
The Hyundai driver, who has not been publicly identified, swerved to avoid hitting the witnesses car; causing his vehicle to careen into oncoming traffic.
The out of control sedan then plowed head-on into the Toyota, according to the witness.
It was not immediately known if alcohol or drug intoxication were contributing factors in the collision and CHP’s investigation is ongoing.
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Timothy Franzese/Public Safety Incidents photos
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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.