TEMECULA, Calif. – On Friday, November 17, 2023, at approximately 3:25 P.M., a three-vehicle traffic collision occurred on Butterfield Stage Road just north of Pauba Road in the unincorporated area of Riverside County.
A 2017 Temecula Valley Unified School District, Bluebird, 44-passenger bus, was being driven by a 48-year-old female from Murrieta, CA, was traveling northbound on Butterfield Stage Road just north of Pauba Road in the # 2 lane at approximately 40 mph. A 2017 Toyota Corolla was being driven by Mariah Reese, 28-year-old female, from San Jacinto, CA, and was traveling northbound on Butterfield Stage Road just north of Pauba Road in the # 2 lane at approximately 70 mph, approaching the rear of the school bus.
The driver of the Toyota Corolla attempted to pass the school bus on the right shoulder of Butterfield Stage Road. The driver of the Toyota Corolla allowed her vehicles right tires to strike the curb, causing the Toyota Corolla to ricochet off the curb and collide into the right side of the school bus.
The force of the collision, caused the school bus driver to lose control of the school bus, subsequently causing the school bus to cross into the opposing southbound traffic lane. A 39-year-old female driver, from Temecula, was driving a 2017 Toyota Highlander, traveling southbound on Butterfield Stage Road just north of Pauba Road, in the # 1 lane, observed the school bus traveling out of control towards her vehicle. The driver of the Toyota Highlander took evasive action but was unable to avoid the school bus. The school bus collided into the left side of the Toyota Highlander, causing major damage.
All vehicles came to rest and passerbys called 911. The California Highway Patrol (CHP), Cal Fire, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, and AMR, all responded to the scene. The school bus was transporting seven students, ages ranging from 7-10 years of age. Two of the students were transported to Temecula Valley Hospital with complaints of pain. The school bus driver suffered moderate injuries and was transported to Inland Valley Medical Center. The driver of the Toyota Highlander was transported to Temecula Valley Hospital with minor to moderate injuries.
CHP investigators determined that the driver of the Toyota Corolla had been driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol and was subsequently arrested for felony DUI. The arrested driver was booked at Cois Byrd Detention Center at 9:35 P.M. Butterfield Stage Road was closed until 9:20 P.M. while traffic had been diverted during the on-scene investigation.
The California Highway Patrol, Temecula Area is conducting this traffic collision investigation. The CHP would like to remind the motoring public to always designate a driver. Driving under the influence is completely avoidable. If you drink, don’t drive.