MURRIETA — An unidentified 30-year-old Menifee man was killed early Monday morning when a Riverside Transit Agency bus slammed into the back of his stopped vehicle in the fast lane of the southbound Interstate 215, causing a chain reaction collision involving two other vehicles just south of Los Alamos Road in Murrieta.
According to California Highway Patrol Officer Mike Strom, at 5:52 a.m., the bus traveling southbound in the No. 1 lane slammed into the back of a Toyota Tundra, which caused the truck to push into a Nissan Sentra driven by a 49-year-old Palmdale man in the No. 2 lane, which then was pushed into a Ford F-250 driven by a 45-year-old San Bernardino man.
After colliding with the Tundra, the driver of the bus, a 26-year-old male from Riverside, veered the bus to the left, colliding with the center median. The Tundra rotated into the No. 2 lane and caught fire.
“It is unknown why the driver of the bus did not see the stopped traffic ahead of him,” Officer Strom said.
The driver of the Tundra was not able to be extricated from the wreckage and was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the bus had to be extricated and was transported to the hospital with major injuries.
Two of the three passengers in the Sentra complained of pain, and a 5-year-old was transported by Lifeflight to a nearby hospital. The child suffered only minor injuries.
The driver and a passenger in the F-250 were treated for minor injuries.
The crash blocked all four lanes of the southbound 215, which was closed for cleanup and a CHP investigation for more than six hours. Officers diverted traffic to the Los Alamos Road offramp and then back onto the 215 using the southbound onramp.
Reports indicated that traffic was extremely heavy throughout the morning on alternate routes through the area as well.
All lanes were reopened by the CHP at 12:45 p.m.
The identification of the victim was withheld pending notification of his family.
The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to call CHP Officer Mike Strom at 951-506-2005.
This is a breaking story that will be updated when more information is available.