Hemet woman, 26, dead after Lakeview crash that sparked 226 acre vegetation fire
Photos taken from above shortly after Wednesday’s crash occurred showed flames spreading outward from the victim’s vehicle into nearby vegetation. Mark Holtzman/West Coast Aerial Photography, Inc. photo
LAKEVIEW, Calif. — Authorities say a woman was killed and a good Samaritan who was one of many citizens who helped to pull her from her burning vehicle was injured after a solo-vehicle crash in the unincorporated community of Lakeview yesterday afternoon, Wednesday, May 5.
The fatal collision, which ignited a vegetation fire that ultimately consumed 226 acres, happened on Gilman Springs Road, just east of Bold Style Road, between the cities of Moreno Valley and San Jacinto.
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Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, California Highway Patrol, Cal Fire-Riverside, and other emergency personnel were dispatched to the scene just before 3 p.m. after receiving reports of a single-vehicle traffic collision with a victim trapped inside a burning vehicle, Riverside Sheriff’s Sergeant Joe Narciso later said of the fatal accident.
911 calls and videos from the scene taken by other motorists immediately after the crash indicated that several witnesses and good Samaritans were frantically working to free the critically injured driver from her Toyota Avalon, even as it caught fire and the flames began to spread to nearby vegetation.
Despite growing flames that eventually burned more than 225 acres, several witnesses and good Samaritans rushed to the aid of the critically injured driver, and managed to pull her from the fiery wreck just minutes before the car was completely consumed by fire. One of the good Samaritans was injured during the terrifying rescue, according to officials. Robert McPherson image
When deputies began arriving they found both directions of travel blocked along Gilman Springs Road. They were forced to slowly work their way to the scene, past vehicles that were blocked in by the heavy traffic caused by the crash and had nowhere to move out of the way for responding officials’ vehicles.
Good Samaritans were ultimately able to pull the victim from her car just as the first deputies arrived at the scene.
Deputies immediately took over CPR and “extensive life-saving efforts were performed by the deputies until they were relieved by Cal Fire medics,” explained Narciso.
Despite their efforts, the victim succumbed to her injuries and she passed away at the scene about thirty minutes after the crash was reported.
Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner officials have since identified Glori Reece, 26, of Hemet, as the motorist who died in the fiery wreck. A coroner’s release indicated she was pronounced deceased at 3:32 p.m.
As the vegetation fire continued to expand, fanned by moderate winds through the valley the blaze soon grew to more than 100 acres and a full wildland fire response was initiated.
Multiple engine companies, water tenders, and hand crews were sent to battle the growing brush fire, along with two Cal Fire air tankers and a water-dropping helicopter from the nearby Hemet-Ryan Airport Cal Fire Helitack Base.
The aircraft performed a series of flyovers that slowed the fire’s forward progress and fire officials announced full containment had been achieved around 11:30 p.m., with the total number of acres burned estimated at 226 by Cal Fire.
No structures were damaged in the blaze and no firefighter or other citizen injuries were reported.
“While tragic, it could have been a lot worse,” a Cal Fire representative said from the scene.
Firefighters from the ground and air spent around nine hours knocking down a 226 acre vegetation fire caused by yesterday’s crash, with full containment reported around 11:30 p.m. Timothy Franzese/Public Safety Incidents photos
Members of the Moreno Valley Sheriff Station’s Traffic Reconstruction Team assumed the crash investigation and determined Reece had been driving southbound on Gilman Springs Road when, “for an unknown reason,” her vehicle left the roadway and collided with several nearby concrete drainage pipes that were lined up in a field along the side of the roadway.
Although initial reports to CHP indicated the crash involved a tractor-trailer hauling vehicles, that was later determined not to be the case, according to officials.
While deputies and firefighters worked at the scene of the crash and blaze, they called for the closure of Gilman Springs Road, between Alessandro Boulevard and Bridge Street. The roadway remained closed until nearly the next morning.
Deputies are still working to determine if alcohol and/or drug intoxication, distracted driving, or a medical crisis were contributing factors in the deadly accident, and their investigation is ongoing.
To donate to a GoFundMe fundraising account created to help the victim’s family with burial costs and other expenses, click here.
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 (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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