Victim, 20, ID’d after fiery Riverside wreck

RIVERSIDE, Calif., — One person was killed and three others were hospitalized after a 19-year-old Compton man lost control of his vehicle and plowed into a Riverside retaining wall Thursday afternoon, Dec. 2. The impact with the wall caused the sedan to burst into flames and overturn on top of another vehicle, crushing its roof in. Another vehicle was also struck by the first sedan when it suddenly veered across the roadway and the opposing lanes of travel, directly into oncoming traffic.

The deadly wreck, which closed one of the main thoroughfares between the cities of Riverside and Jurupa Valley, happened just within the Riverside city limits on Mission Inn Avenue, west of Indian Hill Road.


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City of Riverside police and fire personnel were dispatched to the scene around 2:41 p.m. after receiving reports of an unknown injury traffic collision with a vehicle on fire, Riverside Police Department reported today.

Officials began arriving within minutes and reported finding three involved vehicles in the roadway, including one that was on fire.

Skid marks and other evidence at the scene indicated that a Lexus suddenly veered across the opposing lanes of traffic before plowing into a wall and overturning on top of and over an oncoming Toyota. The Lexus then burst into flames, killing its 19-year-old passenger. Johnny Lopez – Lone Wolf Media/OnScene TV photo

The burning vehicle, which was left nearly unrecognizable by the collision and subsequent fire, was later described as a black 2002 Lexus sedan. Photographs and video footage from the scene showed the other two involved vehicles to be a black, 2015 Toyota Camry that sustained major roof and other damage and a white 2015 Nissan Sentra with minor rear-end damage.

Firefighters made quick work extinguishing the blaze, at which time officials discovered a passenger inside the charred remains of the Lexus who was pronounced deceased at the scene.

The Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner’s Office has since identified Efren Cordova Vazquez, 20, of Compton, as the man killed in the collision. A Coroner’s release indicated he was pronounced deceased at 2:50 p.m.

The driver of the vehicle that burned was transported to a local hospital with moderate injuries, according to Riverside PD. The driver and passenger in the Toyota sustained minor injuries and were transported to a local hospital for evaluation, while the driver of the Nissan was not injured. ⁣

The occupants of a Toyota Camry suffered minor injuries after a vehicle smashed into a wall and overturned, rolling across the their vehicle’s roof. The driver of an involved Nissan was uninjured. Johnny Lopez – Lone Wolf Media/OnScene TV photo

During their preliminary investigation, officers determined the Lexus had been traveling westbound on Mission Inn Avenue at an unknown speed when, for unknown reasons, the sedan suddenly veered across the opposing lanes of traffic. As the out of control Lexus careened across the road it clipped the rear-end of the Nissan, before leaving the roadway and smashing into a retaining wall. 

The Lexus then overturned onto the roof of the Toyota, before rolling multiple times and coming to rest on its roof. Although the injured driver somehow managed to exit the burning Lexus, the passenger did not make it out and the car was fully engulfed in flames by the time firefighters arrived.

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Riverside PD’s investigation is active and ongoing and alcohol and/or drug intoxication have not yet been ruled out.

Anyone with information regarding this collision is urged to call Riverside Police Traffic Detective G. Matthews at (951) 826-8724 or by email. Callers can refer to incident file number 210033099 and can remain anonymous.

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Johnny Lopez – Lone Wolf Media/OnScene TV photos

Contact the writer: [email protected]

Trevor Montgomery, 50, 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.