The Riverside County Coroner’s office has identified the woman killed in a three-vehicle collision Wednesday, Sept. 6, as Joan Lehmer, 62, of Murrieta.
Lehmer was killed when the vehicle she was driving was struck head on by a suspected DUI driver.
The incident, involving a 2002 Chevy Silverado pickup truck, driven by Christopher Barbara, 51, of Hemet, a 2015 Dodge 2500 van, driven by Markis Tokio, 25, of Vista and a 2011 Toyota RAV4 driven by Lehmer, was first reported shortly after 10:40 a.m.
Barbara was placed under arrest for suspected driving under the influence and was booked into the Southwest Detention Center. Barbara, who was charged with second-degree murder, is scheduled to make his first court appearance Friday, Sept. 8, at 1:30 p.m. Along with the murder count, Barbara is charged with gross vehicular
manslaughter, driving under the influence of a controlled substance resulting in injuries and crossing a divided roadway resulting in injuries. He is being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta
Brent Schmidt, 46, also of Hemet, was riding in the front passenger seat of the Chevy Silverado when the collision occurred.
Deputy Mike Lassig with the California Highway Patrol said that Barbara was driving the Chevy Silverado southbound on Winchester Road, just north of Auld Road at an undetermined amount of speed, when for unknown reasons, he drifted to the left, crossing the center dividing line.
Barbara’s truck struck Lehmer’s Toyota RAV4 – which was headed northbound in the No. 2 lane at approximately 50 mph – head on. After the two vehicles collided, the Toyota overturned and struck the Dodge van.
Lehmer perished on the scene from her injuries. Barbara, Schmidt and Tokio were all transported to an area hospital for treatment of moderate to minor injuries.
The three-car collision blocked all lanes of traffic on Winchester Road prompting the California Highway Patrol to issue a Sig Alert closing Winchester Road between Benton and Auld roads for approximately four hours while they conducted an investigation.
The incident remains under investigation and anyone with information should contact the California Highway Patrol Temecula office at (951) 506-2000.