UPDATE: SJ city councilman recovering after medical crisis led to solo-vehicle rollover

UPDATED: Sunday, May 31, 9:53 a.m. With additional details.

CORRECTION: Although the City of San Jacinto’s website still lists Russel Utz as mayor, he currently holds the position of San Jacinto City Councilman.

See Original Story, Photos and Video below

HEMET, Calif. — More details are beginning to emerge after a diabetic-related medical crisis led to a solo-vehicle rollover accident in Hemet Tuesday afternoon, May 26.

The driver, San Jacinto City Councilman Russel “Russ” Utz, was hospitalized with serious injuries; including multiple broken ribs and a broken shoulder.

He has since been released from the hospital and is continuing to recover at home with his family.


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CHP and other emergency personnel were first alerted to Tuesday’s single-vehicle crash shortly before 1:30 p.m., after receiving reports of the accident; which destroyed Utz’ Dodge Challenger along with several concrete-based mail boxes.

Responding officials found Utz seriously injured and trapped inside his wrecked Dodge and firefighters used the “Jaws of Life” to extricate him from his vehicle.

After firefighters extricated Utz from his vehicle, he was rushed to an area hospital for treatment of his multiple traumatic injuries.

Firefighters work to free San Jacinto City Councilman Russ Utz from his wrecked Dodge after a medical crisis caused him to lose control of his vehicle and crash while driving in a residential neighborhood Tuesday afternoon. Robert Carter/Public Safety Incidents photo

Although early reports by witnesses at the scene indicated Utz was speeding and driving recklessly when the solo-vehicle crash happened, officials and Utz himself have since reported that he may have lost consciousness when his blood sugar dropped dangerously low.

After passing out behind the wheel, Utz’s Dodge careened out of control before clipping another car and overturning.

“I am very lucky and I have some very awesome friends who support me,” Utz explained in a social media release after the accident. “My wife and family have been amazing through this.”

“I had very low blood sugar and passed out,” Utz explained; saying, “Fortunately I only crashed my car not hurting anyone else.”

“Thank you for your generous concern and help. It is very humbling to have such good friends,” Utz continued; saying he is working closely with his doctors to prevent a recurrence of what he called a “freak accident.”


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A strong advocate for economic growth and development in the San Jacinto Valley, Utz has spent much of his adult life serving his community, and has strongly supported business expansion throughout his years spent in public office.

City of San Jacinto Mayor Russ Utz is continuing to recover at home after a medical crisis led to a solo-vehicle, rollover crash in Hemet last Tuesday. City of San Jacinto photo

Having served as San Jacinto’s mayor and Planning Commissioner for the San Jacinto City Council, Utz has also held board positions with San Jacinto Chamber of Commerce, Western Riverside Council of Governments, Riverside Transit Agency, and has served as President for the Lion’s Club

He has also participated on various community organizations such as the Watermaster and Ramona Bowl committees; and has pushed for such things as reopening the Cottonwood fire station, building homes for needy families with Habitat for Humanity, finding workable solutions for public safety issues, generating jobs, supporting small businesses, improving the downtown area, highway upgrades, and increasing resources for Veterans.

Utz has also served as Vice President of the Board for the Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) at Monte Vista Middle School, and as Acting Executive Director, Program Developer, and Primary Grant Writer/Researcher for the Lewis Center for the Homeless.

Contacted for more information about the accident, a CHP representative advised officers are continuing to investigate the cause of Tuesday’s rollover crash and confirmed that Utz had possibly suffered a medical crisis leading to the accident.

Original Story: Speeding leads to solo-vehicle Hemet rollover

HEMET, Calif. — CHP is investigating the cause of a single vehicle rollover crash in Hemet that left the injured driver trapped inside his wrecked vehicle Tuesday afternoon, May 26.

According to witnesses the driver was speeding and driving recklessly when he lost control and crashed in a residential neighborhood on Cornell St., between Johnston and Stetson avenues.

The crash was one of two major accidents the same day involving speeding and reckless driving in the Hemet area. The other high-speed crash happened when a speeding and reckless driver swerved into oncoming traffic after nearly rear-ending another car on SR-74. The unsafe turning movement caused the sedan to plow head-on into an SUV.


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CHP, Cal Fire, and other emergency personnel were dispatched to the scene about 1:23 p.m., after receiving reports of a high-speed, solo-vehicle rollover crash.

911 callers reported the vehicle had careened out of control, clipping another vehicle and smashing into a set of postal boxes, before coming to rest on its wheels in the middle of the street.

Firefighters work to free a trapped and injured driver who lost control while speeding and driving recklessly through a residential neighborhood yesterday afternoon. Robert Carter/Public Safety Incidents photo

When officials arrived they found a wrecked and heavily damaged burgundy Dodge, with good Samaritans attempting to help the injured and trapped driver.

Firefighters used the “Jaws of Life” to extricate the driver from the destroyed car and the man was transported by ground ambulance to Riverside University Health System in Moreno Valley.

His current condition was not known as of this report.

Witnesses later said despite the street’s 35 mph posted speed limit the driver, whose identity was unknown, was traveling northbound on Cornell St. from Stetson Ave. at a high rate of speed when he lost control of his vehicle.

It was not immediately known if alcohol or drug intoxication were contributing factors in the crash.

The wrecked Dodge was later towed from the scene and CHP’s investigation is continuing.

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Robert Carter/Public Safety Incidents photos

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Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

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.