Pulled from burning vehicle, man flees fiery Hemet wreck

HEMET, Calif. — A solo-vehicle rollover wreck caused a car to burst into flames and ignited a small vegetation fire early Sunday morning, Sept. 6.

Although a man was initially trapped and rescued from the burning car by good Samaritans, he immediately fled the scene. He was located a short time later near the area and investigated for driving under the influence and fleeing the scene of the crash, which happened on Warren Rd. north of Devonshire Ave.

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City of Hemet Police and Fire Departments, along with Riverside County sheriff’s deputies, CHP officers, and AMR personnel, were dispatched to the scene around 12:30 a.m., after receiving reports of a single-vehicle rollover with entrapment.

911 callers reported the vehicle had burst into flames, which were quickly spreading to vegetation in a nearby field where the car came to rest.

A firefighter works to extinguish a car fire after a car burst into flames, igniting a vegetation fire after a rollover crash in Hemet. Eddie George/Hemet News photo

Hemet police officers were first to arrive at the scene and they reported finding a silver sedan fully engulfed in flames, according to official radio traffic at the time.

Witnesses and good Samaritans at the scene reported helping a man from the burning vehicle and told officials the subject, who appeared to be intoxicated, immediately fled the area.

While firefighters were still responding to the scene, officers and deputies began using fire extinguishers to slow the fire’s advance into nearby vegetation, but were unable to control the swiftly growing blaze.

Once firefighters arrived they managed to quickly knock down both the car fire as well as flames that had spread to about an eighth-acre of surrounding vegetation.

Official radio traffic at the time indicated the blaze was brought under control about 1:45 a.m.

Officers soon located the driver walking northbound away from the crash site and detained the man for further investigation.

Although good Samaritans who witnessed the crash reportedly pulled a man from the burning wreckage of his vehicle, the allegedly intoxicated suspect immediately fled the scene. He was later apprehended by responding Hemet PD officers. Robert Carter/Public Safety Incidents photo

AMR medics evaluated the man, whose identity remained unknown as of this report, and according to witnesses at the scene, he was arrested after officials determined he was under the influence of alcohol.

While officials worked at the scene and cleaned up the crash debris, officers closed Warren Rd. between Devonshire and Esplanade avenues.

The cause of the crash and what led to the fiery wreck remain under investigation.


Eddie George/Hemet News photos above, video below.

Robert Carter/Public Safety Incident photos above, video below.

Timothy Franzese/Public Safety Incidents video below.


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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 30 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 18 grandchildren.

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