Gusty winds wreak havoc near San Jacinto, topple two big-rigs, pickup with trailer

SAN JACINTO, Calif. — Strong and gusty winds are being cited as contributing factors in three separate and unrelated crashes along SR-79, between Gilman Springs Road and Ramona Expressway, yesterday afternoon, Tuesday, Jan. 19. Two of the crashes involved tractor-trailer combos that overturned, while the other rollover accident involved a pickup truck pulling a camper trailer, California Highway Patrol Officer Matt Napier told RCNS this afternoon.

The three crashes, which all happened along the same stretch of highway near the bottom of the hill heading toward San Jacinto from Beaumont – where the mountains open up and allow for much gustier winds – caused Sig-Alert and strong wind advisories to be issued and resulted in significant delays in travel times for commuters and area residents.

The trio of accidents followed a fatal crash earlier that morning just a few miles away, in the area of Gilman Springs Road and Alessandro Boulevard. The three-vehicle head-on collision killed a 31-year-old San Jacinto mother who had been driving with her three children. Although the victim’s children escaped serious injury due to being properly buckled into their car seats, the other driver sustained major injuries and remains hospitalized.


Illegal passing ruled out after Gilman Springs crash that killed mother, injured children

Arrest made after home invasion robbery and murder of elderly Riverside woman

Struck and left for dead on Christmas day, teen’s slow recovery continuing

Laying in middle of San Jacinto roadway, person fatally run over

CHP and other emergency personnel were alerted to the first two accidents around 1:27 p.m., according to a CHP incident log.

Both rollover accidents happened nearly simultaneously and within a few hundred feet of each other, leading some to believe the accidents were somehow related. However, CHP later determined the first two rollovers were unrelated but possibly caused by the same gust of wind.

A couple was uninjured after strong and gusty winds caused their pickup truck and camper trailer to overturn while traveling on SR-79 toward San Jacinto yesterday afternoon. High winds also caused two big-rigs to overturn in the same area. Robert Carter/Public Safety Incidents photo

When officials arrived they found two separate and unrelated rollover accidents, including one involving a big-rig and trailer and the other involving a Chevy pickup truck that had been towing a 26-foot camper trailer.

The tractor-trailer combo had come to rest on its passenger side, with its cab partially blocking the number two lane of the roadway. The trailer had been empty when the rollover occurred according to the driver, who was uninjured when his vehicle overturned.

The pickup truck and trailer came to rest on their sides a bit further down the highway and were left blocking both southbound lanes, leaving the roadway impassable. The elderly driver and his wife were uninjured in the crash and were able to climb out of their overturned Chevy before officials arrived at the scene.

A heavy-duty wrecker was called to the scene for the tractor-trailer combo, and Riverside County Environmental Health and Haz-Mat officials also responded for clean up of fuel, oil, and other fluids that had spilled from the overturned big-rig.

A separate tow company responded to right the Chevy and its trailer back onto their wheels.


Struck and run over by two vehicles in Menifee, Lake Elsinore man killed

Pit maneuver, rollover crash with one ejected, ends 100 mph pursuit

Chili’s Grill & Bar at Lake Elsinore Marketplace sells for $2.6 million

Argument between Riverside brothers leads to stabbing

Later the same afternoon, at around 4:45 p.m., CHP received reports of another big-rig that overturned due to high winds in the same area as the first two rollovers.

According to a CHP incident log, the tractor-trailer combo came to rest on its side and was blocking one of the ramps at Gilman Springs Road as well as both southbound lanes of travel.

The driver was uninjured in the rollover crash, according to Napier, and a heavy-duty wrecker responded to the scene to right the big-rig and trailer.

Yesterday’s trio of rollover accidents caused Sig-Alert and high-wind advisories to be issued and resulted in significant delays for area motorists. Robert Carter/Public Safety Incidents photo

While discussing the trio of accidents with RCNS, Napier used the opportunity to remind drivers that when high-profile vehicle wind advisories are issued, that does not solely apply to commercial vehicles and can apply to any trailers or high-profile vehicles.

“Wind advisories are often issued several days in advance and drivers need to plan ahead,” Napier said while adding, “Those planning on pulling trailers need to work out alternate routes around areas where high winds are expected.”

“However, if you find yourself caught in the wind while pulling a trailer, find a safe place to pull off the roadway and wait until it’s safe to continue traveling,” said Napier.  

Although high winds at the time were likely the cause of the three crashes, CHP’s investigations into the trio of accidents are continuing and officials have not ruled out intoxication, distracted driving, or other causes as possible contributing factors in the separate incidents.  

Click any image to open full-size gallery.  

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

This article sponsored by:

For more information, contact Bill Tyler at Century 21 Full Realty Service.

With breaking news articles, videos, podcasts, opinion pieces and more, Law Enforcement News Network has all the latest news and information related to law enforcement issues across the nation.

Voted Best Independent Sandwich Shop in the Inland Empire by The Press-Enterprise readers choice. Centrally located on N Harvard St in the heart of Downtown Hemet, enjoy over 30 different sandwiches and premium salads. Our coffee is made from locally roasted, Organic Coffee Beans from Idyllwild Coffee Roasters. Come taste the difference that is Downtown Deli & Coffee Company. For more information, visit Downtown Deli & Coffee Co. on Facebook.

Contact the writer: [email protected]

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 KRCR News Channel 7 and Mountain Echo in Shasta County, Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego 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.