Pair killed in Lake Mathews head-on crash with big rig

UPDATED: Thursday, Nov. 5, 11 a.m., With coroner’s release of information.

Originally published: Wednesday, Nov. 4, 12:35 p.m.

LAKE MATHEWS, Calif. — Authorities have identified a couple who were killed when a big rig slammed head-on into their sedan on the south side of Lake Mathews Tuesday morning, Nov. 3. 

The head-on collision happened on Cajalco Rd., just west of La Sierra Ave., according to California Highway Patrol.


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CHP, Cal Fire – Riverside, Corona Fire Department and other emergency personnel were dispatched to the scene about 10:25 a.m., according to the CHP Officer Juan Quintero and Cal Fire officials.

When officials arrived they found a Toyota Scion XB with heavy front-end damage on the dirt shoulder of the roadway. A heavily damaged tractor trailer was found partially up a nearby hill, about 50 to 100 feet off the roadway.

Firefighters and CHP work at the scene of a fatal collision involving a tractor-trailer that killed two Norco residents Tuesday morning. RVC News photo

Despite life-saving efforts both the driver and sole passenger of the Toyota succumbed to their injuries and passed away at the scene.

Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner officials have since identified the pair killed in the crash as Dale D’Elia, 32, of Perris, and Ashley Slater, 32, of Norco. A coroner’s release indicated both victims were pronounced deceased at the scene at 10:47 a.m.

Friends and family of the victims say the couple had just gotten engaged a short time before Tuesday’s deadly crash.

During their subsequent investigation, CHP officers determined the victims killed in the collision were traveling eastbound on Cajalco Rd. just before the collision. At the same time a big rig being driven by a 26-year-old Alberta, Canada man was traveling westbound toward the Toyota.

“The preliminary investigation revealed (the truck driver) failed to negotiate the right curvature in the road and allowed the semi to cross over the eastbound lane of Cajalco, directly in the path of the Toyota,” Quintero described. “As a result, the truck collided with the Toyota head-on.”


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The impact killed both occupants of the Toyota, while the driver of the big rig was uninjured in the collision.

The trucker was questioned at the scene and released pending further investigation, according to Quintero.

Anyone with information about this investigation or who witnessed the deadly crash and has not yet provided a statement to authorities is encouraged to contact the CHP’s Riverside office at (951) 637-8000. Callers can remain anonymous.

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RVC News photos

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Trevor Montgomery, 49, 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.