MOUNTAIN CENTER – One person was killed and four others were injured when two vehicles collided nearly head-on into each other on Highway 74 at Courtesy Drive Saturday morning, Oct. 29. The fatal accident happened south of Lake Hemet and northeast of Anza in the San Jacinto Mountains, according to California Highway Patrol and Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Department officials.
CHP officers, Riverside County sheriff’s deputies, firefighters, and AMR medics responded to the collision after it was reported to 911 dispatchers at 10:33 a.m. The accident happened less than one-half mile from Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Station 53.
Upon arrival, emergency first responders located five victims from the two vehicles, which were described as a white Ford pickup truck and a red Ford sedan. Both vehicles sustained major front end damage in the collision.
When they arrived, firefighters found two victims trapped inside the sedan and firefighters had to perform a cut and rescue operation to extricate the two from their vehicle. One of the two victims from the sedan had already succumbed to their injuries and was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.
Firefighters and paramedics treated the four additional victims; one who sustained serious injuries, two with moderate injuries, and one with minor injuries, according to Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire Public Information Officer April Newman.
The name of the deceased victim was not released, pending notification of the victim’s family.
Highway 74 was closed to through traffic while officers conducted an accident investigation. Motorists were diverted around the scene of the fatal crash while officers conducted their investigation.
At around noon, Newman updated that Mercy Air Ambulance “Mercy 18” transported one of the victims to an area hospital in serious condition. Two other victims with moderate injuries were transported by ground ambulances to an area hospital. The fourth victim was evaluated by paramedics on scene and declined further treatment.
Animal Control was requested for a dog that was inside of one of the two vehicles at the time of the collision.
The cause of the accident is still under investigation by CHP officials.
Anyone with information about the deadly accident who witnessed the collision is encouraged to contact officials from the California Highway Patrol’s Indio area station at (760) 772-8911. Callers can remain anonymous.