San Jacinto pursuit ends in multi-vehicle Hemet crash

SAN JACINTO, Calif. — Four people were reportedly hospitalized when a stolen vehicle pursuit that began in San Jacinto ended in a spectacular multi-vehicle crash in Hemet yesterday afternoon, Tuesday, Feb. 16.

The alleged suspect, a felon on Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS) probation, was immediately arrested after the crash, which happened at the intersection of Menlo and Palm avenues.

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Deputies from the San Jacinto Sheriff’s Station spotted a white handicapped minivan that had been reported stolen around 2:39 p.m. and attempted to conduct a traffic stop, Riverside Sheriff’s Sergeant Tommy Mix later said of the incident and arrest.

When the driver, later identified as Juan Alonso Perez Jr., 28, of San Jacinto, saw deputies closing in on him he immediately accelerated away from officials in an attempt to elude them, at which time a pursuit was initiated, explained Mix.

Hemet police officers survey the scene of yesterday afternoon’s multi-vehicle, multi-injury crash involving a man who fled from San Jacinto sheriff’s deputies in a stolen handicapped minivan. Robert Carter/Public Safety Incidents photo

During the pursuit, Perez drove in an extremely reckless manner without regard for the safety of other citizens or pursuing deputies and was seen running stop signs and driving into oncoming traffic, Mix later said.

Due to Perez’ high speed and reckless driving, once a Sheriff’s helicopter was in place overhead and able to follow and track the suspect, the Sheriff’s ground pursuit was terminated.

San Jacinto resident Juan Alonso Perez was booked on numerous felony charges after yesterday’s pursuit. RSO booking photo

Although no longer being pursued, Perez continued his erratic driving, eventually plowing into four vehicles at the intersection of Menlo and Palm avenues.

The ensuing five-vehicle wreck left Perez’ stolen van on top of a heavily-damaged Honda Accord, with other vehicles and debris scattered across the roadway.

Deputies who arrived moments later immediately apprehended Perez and took him into custody.

Aerial drone footage shows the path of destruction left when a felon on probation crashed moments after a dangerous, high-speed pursuit was terminated for safety reasons. Eddie George/Hemet News photo

City of Hemet Police and Fire personnel, already alerted that the chase had entered their city, began arriving within moments of the wreck and paramedics began evaluating and treating the other motorists injured in the crash.

Witnesses at the scene later reported that four people injured in the collision were transported to area hospitals with various, unspecified injuries. The full extent of their injuries and current conditions were not known as of this report.

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After his arrest deputies booked Perez into the Larry Smith Correctional Facility in Banning on suspicion of vehicle theft, felony evading causing injuries, recklessly evading, possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of burglary tools, driving under the influence causing injuries, and violation of probation.

Online jail records indicate Perez remains in custody and is being held without bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned at an unspecified court tomorrow, Feb. 18.

Yesterday’s high-speed pursuit left five vehicles wrecked and sent four people to area hospitals. Julie Jamison/RCNS Staff Photographer photo

The intersection where the crash occurred remained closed for several hours until officials concluded their investigation and removed the wrecked vehicles from the scene.

The sheriff’s investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact Deputy Adam Sultan at the San Jacinto Sheriff Station by calling (951) 766-2400. Callers can refer to incident file number ZE210470005 and can remain anonymous.


Click any image to open full-size gallery.

Robert Carter/Public Safety Incidents photos above.


Eddie George/Hemet News photos above.



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Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 49, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS).

Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County-based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.

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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