San Jacinto man, 21, ID’d after fatal Ramona Expressway head-on collision in Nuevo

NUEVO, Calif., — Authorities say a San Jacinto man was killed in a three-vehicle head-on collision in Nuevo early Thursday morning, March 17.

The deadly collision happened on a notoriously dangerous section of Ramona Expressway near Hansen Avenue / Davis Road, an area known for speeding, illegal passing and impatient/distracted driving that has claimed many lives over the years. (See below for a sampling of Nuevo and Lakeview area Ramona Expressway major injury and fatal crash-related articles covered by RCNS in recent years.)


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California Highway Patrol – Riverside, Cal Fire – Riverside, and other emergency personnel were dispatched to the scene around 5:40 a.m. after receiving reports of a three-vehicle head-on traffic accident with major injuries and victims trapped, CHP Officer Juan Quintero and Cal Fire have since reported.

When officials arrived, they found a burgundy 2017 Hyundai Sonata that had smashed head-on into a white 2020 Isuzu box van. Both the passenger sedan and box truck had sustained major front-end damage and were left blocking the eastbound lanes of travel. 

The 21-year-old driver of a Hyundai was killed after crossing into opposing traffic and plowing into a box truck early yesterday morning, Francisca SD Vasquez photo

Both drivers were found trapped inside their vehicles and firefighters began separate cut and rescue operations to free them from their wrecked vehicles.

Despite life-saving efforts, the driver of the Hyundai succumbed to his injuries and passed away at the scene.

After being cut free from his vehicle, the driver of the box truck was transported to an area hospital for treatment of moderate injuries, according to Cal Fire.

The Riverside County Sheriff – Coroner’s Office has since identified Joshua Vasquez-Escamilla, 21, of San Jacinto, as the driver killed in the collision. A Coroner’s release indicated he was pronounced deceased at 6:15 a.m.

During their subsequent investigation, CHP determined that moments before the collision the Hyundai had been traveling at an unknown speed westbound on Ramona Expressway, just west of Hansen Avenue, according to Quintero.

At the same time, a 34-year-old man from Los Angeles was driving the box van eastbound on Ramona Expressway, west of Hansen Avenue, at approximately 25 mph and approaching the Hyundai from the opposite direction.

“For reasons still under investigation, (Vasquez-Escamilla) allowed his Hyundai Sonata to veer to the left, into the eastbound lanes of Ramona Expressway, directly into the path of (the) Isuzu box van,” Quintero explained. “Subsequently, the Hyundai Sonata and Isuzu box van collided head-on, causing major intrusion damage to both vehicles.”

No mention was made regarding the third vehicle that was reportedly involved in the collision.

Alcohol is not believed to be a factor in this collision, according to Quintero, who said CHP’s investigation is active and ongoing.

Anyone who may have witnessed this collision and has not yet provided a statement is encouraged to call California Highway Patrol’s Accident Investigation Unit at (951) 637-8000. Callers can refer to incident file number 0317 2022 0539 9840 17882 and can remain anonymous.


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In the wake of the victim’s passing, his family created a GoFundMe account to help raise money for his burial costs and other expenses.

“Joshua was a loving, caring and goofy person,” Leonela Garcia explained. “He leaves behind his mother and six siblings. Some of whom he helped care for.”

“We appreciate any help during such a difficult time,” she continued, adding, “Please pray for his family as they endure such a great loss.”

Contact the writer: [email protected]

Trevor Montgomery, 51, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and operates Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS). Both are stringer organizations, providing breaking news coverage and community interest stories for other mainstream media organizations throughout the two regions they serve.

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.