Man’s second DUI in 11 days kills Hemet pedestrian, injures several others in Mead Valley
MEAD VALLEY, Calif., — Authorities say an intoxicated driver who may have been trying to flee from a pending traffic stop in Mead Valley fatally struck a pedestrian before slamming head-on into another vehicle on Sunday afternoon, March 27. The pedestrian died at the scene and the alleged drunk driver along with several occupants of the involved vehicles were all hospitalized after the back-to-back collisions.
Riverside County Superior Court records indicate the driver, 26-year-old Juan Diego, was arrested just eleven days earlier on March 16th for another DUI and was out of jail awaiting court proceedings related to that arrest. He has since been booked into jail on seven felony and four misdemeanor charges related to Sunday’s fatal crashes.
LEADING THE RCNS HEADLINES:
California Highway Patrol – Riverside and other emergency personnel were dispatched to the area of Cajalco and Decker roads at 3:47 p.m. after receiving reports of a vehicle that had struck a pedestrian before plowing head-on into another vehicle.
Initial reports since confirmed by CHP and the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department indicated that deputies from the Perris Sheriff’s Station were already at the scene and that a deputy had been following a suspected drunk driver in anticipation of making a traffic stop when the pair of collisions occurred.
Despite life-saving efforts, the pedestrian, since identified as Miracle Jackson, 25, of Hemet, succumbed to her injuries and passed away at the scene. A Coroner’s release indicated she was killed instantly in the collision.
CHP has said a deputy was preparing to stop a suspected drunk driver when the man fatally struck a pedestrian, before plowing head-on into another vehicle. The man had been arrested for another DUI just eleven days before this fatal collision occurred. Lone Wolf News and Media photo
Diego, along with the other involved driver and two passengers, were all transported to area hospitals with injuries ranging from minor to serious. None of their injuries were considered to be life-threatening, according to CHP.
During their subsequent investigation, CHP determined that Diego had been driving a white Ford SUV on Cajalco Road when a K-9 deputy began following him, suspecting that he was possibly driving while impaired.
Responding to a request for further details, Riverside Sheriff’s Sergeant Brandy Swan told RCNS today that the K-9 deputy had spotted Diego swerving on Cajalco Road and driving in a manner that led him to believe the driver was possibly intoxicated or otherwise impaired.
“While the deputy was still following (Diego), he swerved onto the dirt shoulder and struck a pedestrian who had been standing on the side of the road,” Swan explained. “He then swerved back into the roadway and struck another vehicle head-on.”
Swan went on to say that the K-9 deputy had not yet activated his lights or siren or initiated a traffic stop when the fatal accident occurred and that he was not in pursuit of the SUV at the time of the collisions.
The two accidents happened in front of the popular and busy Mariscos Uruapan Móbil taco stand, where there were multiple witnesses who were visually shaken by what they had witnessed. Many were seen crying and holding each other as they stood in small groups waiting to be interviewed.
Diego was arrested the following day at the Riverside University Health System in Moreno Valley and booked on suspicion of murder with malice, second-degree murder, gross vehicular manslaughter, two counts of DUI resulting in great bodily injuries, driving without a license, driving while suspended for a prior DUI, and other charges.
Online jail records indicate he remains in custody in lieu of $1,090,000 bail or bond and is scheduled to appear in court at the Riverside Hall of Justice on April 1.
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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.