MURRIETA – The motorist who was killed when his extended cab pickup truck rear-ended a truck was publicly identified today by the coroner’s office.
Juan Duran Jr., 30, of Murrieta, was behind the wheel of a 2005 Chevrolet Avalanche on Friday when he failed to slow down and plowed into the larger truck that had braked for traffic ahead in the slow lane, the California Highway Patrol reported.
His pickup hit the truck so hard it was wedged underneath, prompting the closure of the slow lane for nearly three hours, the CHP reported.
Duran was pronounced dead at the 11 a.m. crash, a half-mile north of Winchester Road, according to the coroner’s office.
UPDATE: Chevy Avalanche, semi-truck collision on SB 15 results in fatality
TEMECULA – At approximately 11:02 a.m., a 30-year-old male from Murrieta was driving a 2005 Chevrolet Avalanche southbound on Interstate 15 at Warm Springs Creek, in the #5 lane at an undetermined speed.
At the same time, a 22-year-old male from Moreno Valley was driving a Freightliner tractor/trailer ahead of the Chevrolet.
As traffic ahead began to slow, the Freightliner slowed and, for an undetermined reason, the Chevrolet collided into the rear of the Freightliner. After the collision, the front portion of the Chevrolet remained underneath the rear portion on the Freightliner.
The driver of the Chevrolet succumbed to his injuries at the scene. The driver of the Freightliner does not have any known injuries at this time.
The #5 lane of southbound Interstate 15 was closed for approximately 3 hours. The Winchester Road off-ramp remained open.
Traffic on the surface streets of Murrieta and Temecula were congested with traffic attempting to avoid the freeway back-up.
This collision remains under investigation at this time. The identity of the deceased driver has not been released.
TEMECULA – A fatal crash was reported at 11:02 a.m. on southbound I-15 just north of the Winchester Road/Highway 79 North exit near the Temecula-Murrieta city boundaries, which has also resulted in a traffic jam on the southbound portion of the freeway as well as surface streets in Murrieta.
The crash involving a big rig and a Chevy Avalanche fell within Murrieta city limits, according to Matt Corelli, spokesman for the Murrieta Fire Department, who said CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department also responded because it is a mutual aid area.
“The driver of the big rig felt a jolt, looked behind him and the Chevy Avalanche was actually pinned under the truck. As crews arrived on scene they prepared to extricate the trapped driver of the Avalanche and within minutes determined that he had perished, Corelli said.
The driver of the big rig, an 18-wheeler with the label Greg’s Trucking, was not injured.
According to California Highway Patrol Officer Nathan Baer, a sigalert was issued for the roadway because the wreckage was blocking the number three lane as well as part of the Winchester Road off-ramp.
“Right now all we know is that the Avalanche was traveling at an undetermined speed and for an undetermined reason, he was unable to brake in time as the big rig was slowing for traffic that had slowed ahead,” Baer said.
As of 12:30 p.m. coroner’s officials were en route to the scene and the California Highway Patrol had already begun an investigation into the crash. Southbound traffic along Interstates 15 and 215 remained stalled from Murrieta.
Traffic was also heavy on Jefferson Avenue, Madison Avenue and Murrieta Hot Springs Road in Murrieta due to motorists trying to avoid the freeway.
The victim was described as a Hispanic man in his 30s, but authorities were still working to positively identify him. There were no passengers in the vehicle with him, according to Corelli.
The Valley News will update this page as more info becomes available.