Ramona Expressway scene of increasing fatal accidents scrutinized by CHP


An increasing number of fatal traffic collisions on the Ramona Expressway from Perris into San Jacinto in the past few months has caught the attention of Hemet and San Jacinto motorists and are under investigation by the California Highway Patrol.

The latest fatal accidents on the busy highway occurred Saturday, Aug. 10, and Monday, Aug. 12, two days apart.

The first head-on collision occurred at Warren Road in San Jacinto near Bridge Street to the west where Aug. 12 one person was killed and another was injured in a big rig versus motorcycle collision, according to CHP and Cal Fire reports.

The CHP said that two months ago, April 14, three people were killed in a head-on collision on the two-lane expressway at Fifth Street in Nuevo.

From that date, the fatal accidents began to increase in frequency.

The CHP said a San Jacinto man drifted over the double lines of the westbound expressway east of Hansen Avenue in Nuevo, June 5, crashing into another car with a trailer, veering off to hit a third car head on and killing the female driver.

An allegedly intoxicated male driver who was driving a stolen pickup truck eastbound on the expressway, June 11, veered into the opposite lane between Fifth Street and Reservoir Avenue and plowed head-on into a westbound Ford SUV, killing a woman and a juvenile girl.

Two days later, June 13, a Nuevo man exiting his disabled vehicle on the expressway west of Lakeview Avenue was struck and killed by a driver who failed to see him in the dark.

Concern about the rash of fatal accidents on that stretch of the highway became apparent when other expressway commuters began calling the two-lane section of Ramona Expressway where those accidents happened the “Death Expressway,” according to the Riverside County News Source.

San Jacinto residents also expressed their concerns when another series of accidents occurred on the expressway, this time between Bridge Street and Warren Road two months later.

The first collision involved two cars crashing head-on near Warren Road, Aug. 10, killing one person when a Hyundai crossed a double yellow line and struck a Chevrolet. The driver of the Chevrolet died.

The second collision, Aug. 12, was between a big rig and motorcycle near Warren Road. The motorcyclist was killed.

The CHP enforces the traffic laws on the Ramona Expressway and on state highways from Highway 74 north through the Banning Pass area with officers from three different districts – San Gorgonio, Riverside and Perris – coordinating their patrols which have increased due to construction on Gilman Springs Roads and Highway 60 and east Highway 74.

The different CHP reports indicate an increase in fatal accidents on the Ramona Expressway which have been due to mostly head-on collisions with drivers who are allegedly driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and speeding.

Tony Ault can be reached by email at tault@reedermedia.com.