UPDATE: Man who fled Hemet crash that seriously injured motorcyclist turns self in
UPDATED: Wednesday, May 12, 12:08 p.m., With additional details from CHP
Originally published: Monday, May 10, 12:45 p.m.
HEMET, Calif. — Authorities say a man who fled the scene of a vehicle versus motorcycle collision was arrested after turning himself in to CHP the day after the early morning hit and run. The East Hemet collision, which occurred Sunday, May 9, left the victim hospitalized with major injuries, according to officials; who have said the man who struck the victim was wanted for failing to appear for an earlier DUI arrest when he was arrested for Sunday’s hit and run.
“A citable misdemeanor warrant escalated to a felony arrest and booking just because he chose to leave,” CHP has since said of the hit and run collision and subsequent arrest; adding, “Think twice before fleeing the scene of a crash.”
LEADING THE RCNS HEADLINES:
CHP and other emergency personnel were dispatched to the intersection of Florida Avenue and Stanford Street around 12:35 a.m. after receiving reports of a motorcyclist who was down in the roadway after being struck by a red Ford Explorer.
911 callers reported the driver who struck the motorcyclist had fled the scene, leaving the seriously injured motorcyclist laying in the roadway.
“A citable misdemeanor warrant escalated to a felony arrest and booking just because he chose to leave,” CHP has since said of the hit and run collision and subsequent arrest of 50-year-old, Scott Willett. CHP photos
When officials arrived they found a heavily damaged white Harley Davidson motorcycle with it’s rider still in the road. The victim, whose name has not been released, sustained major injuries and was rushed by ground ambulance to an area hospital for further treatment.
Witnesses to the collision told CHP the vehicle that struck the motorcyclist sustained heavy front passenger-side damage.
Officers who investigated the hit and run soon located the suspect’s unoccupied Ford; which was heavily damaged by the collision and had become disabled not far from the scene of the collision.
Despite searching the area for the driver, he was not located that morning. However, several “key witnesses” identified the driver and provided a good description, according to CHP.
“While continuing our investigation … the suspect walked into the San Gorgonio Pass Area office and turned himself in,” said CHP. “After a thorough interview by the investigating officer, we confirmed him to be the driver at the time of the collision and he was arrested on-site for felony hit and run as well as an outstanding misdemeanor warrant.”
The suspect, Scott David Willet, 50, was later booked into the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning on suspicion of hit and run resulting in serious/permanent injuries; as well as for his warrant for the earlier DUI.
Online jail records indicate Willet was released within hours of his arrest, after posting $25,000 bail or bond.
Area resident Crystal Castellanos has since said one of her relatives was the motorcyclist injured in the collision.
“He’s in pain and a bit broken, but he’s going to be just fine,” Castellanos explained; adding, “We still have him, that’s what matters.”
After learning of Willett’s arrest Castellanos said she was glad that the hit and run driver turned himself in.
“(Willetts) left him on the street as if he was nothing,” Castellanos wrote on social media after Willett’s arrest; adding that she hopes “justice is served” in the case.
“What started as an unfortunate, yet uncomplicated, traffic collision became much more when this driver decided to flee the scene,” CHP has since said of the hit and run collision.
“Even without the suspect walking in the front doors, he had little chance of not being found based on the circumstances,” CHP added.
Anyone with further information regarding this investigation or who witnessed this hit and run and has not yet provided a statement is encouraged to contact CHP – San Gorgonio Pass at (951) 769-2000. Callers can refer to incident file number F081-655-21 and can remain anonymous.
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John Strangis/EN Media Productions 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 (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.