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Man Dies in Crash With Big Rig on I-15 at Murrieta-Temecula Border

Juan Duran, Jr., was named as the deceased in a report late Friday from the Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner's Office.

The crash scene, Jan. 17, 2014. Photo/Daniel Lane
The crash scene, Jan. 17, 2014. Photo/Daniel Lane

A 30-year-old Murrieta man died Friday when his pick-up truck collided into a big rig on southbound Interstate 15 at the Murrieta-Temecula border, a California Highway Patrol officer said.

Juan Duran, Jr., was named as the deceased in a report late Friday from the Riverside County Sheriff-Coroner's Office.

The fatal wreck was reported at 11:02 a.m. just north of the Winchester Road/Highway 79 North exit, in the Warm Springs Creek area according to CHP Temecula Area Spokesman Nathan Baer.

The crash—resulting in a traffic jam on the freeway as well as on surface streets in Murrieta—involved a 2005 Chevrolet Avalanche driven by the Murrieta man, and a freightliner being driven by a 22-year-old man from Moreno Valley, Baer stated in a news release. 

“This collision remains under investigation at this time," Baer said. 

Paramedics with CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department and the Murrieta Fire Department responded to the crash within five minutes, according to Matt Corelli, spokesman for Murrieta Fire.

"The driver of the big rig felt a jolt, looked behind him and the Chevy Avalanche was actually pinned under the truck," Corelli said. 

The crash fell within Murrieta city limits, according to Corelli, who said CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department also responded because it is a mutual aid area.

According to Corelli, CAL FIRE was first on scene and discovered the Chevrolet underneath the big rig.

Crews prepared to extricate the trapped driver of the Avalanche and determined that he had perished upon impact, Corelli said.

There were no passengers in Avalanche, according to Corelli.

The driver of the big rig, an 18-wheeler with the label, "Greg's Trucking" was not injured, Corelli said.

A sigalert was issued for the roadway. The wreckage blocked the number five lane, the lane farthest to the right.

Southbound traffic along Interstates 15 and 215 was congested from Murrieta. 

Traffic was also heavy on Jefferson Avenue, Madison Avenue and Murrieta Hot Springs Road in Murrieta, likely due to motorists trying to avoid the freeway.

CHP quickly began an investigation into what may have triggered the crash.

Baer told Patch that preliminary information indicated the big rig was traveling south near Warm Springs Creek in the far right lane when the Avalanche, also traveling south, rear-ended it.

"...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.

The wreckage was mostly confined to the right side of the freeway, with four other lanes remaining open, but motorists were slowing to glance at the crash site, he said.

The front end of the Avalanche was underneath the rear end of the big rig.

“It’s a very traumatic crash, there’s a lot of damage,” said Baer, while on scene.

The wreckage was cleared and the blocked lane was reopened by about 2 p.m. Friday, Baer said.

—Daniel Lane contributed to this report.

Last updated at 9:49 p.m. Jan. 17; originally posted at 11:45 a.m. Jan. 17, 2014

southernbelle January 21, 2014 at 11:19 AM
@ChrisG--I'm going to disagree about "too fast." here's why--It was arnd 11 in the morning when there isn't much traffic on the "freeways" (not exit) at that time, so he and the truck were most likely traveling close to, and most likely just under the speed limit, since they were merging to the right. By the angle of the collision, you can tell he was clearly changing lanes TO THE RIGHT. I think we can safely assume he was attempting to merge on to the Winchester exit. He was behind a truck, unable to see around. My wager is that someone IN FRONT of the truck braked in order to merge in, the truck braked, at the very moment Mr Duran was IN THE PROCESS of accelerating AND looking over his right shoulder in order to merge into an opening. This happens quite quickly. Next time you exit this dysfunction-- be conscious of all this and it makes sense. I've been processing it the past few days during my exits since my hubby told me his story. SO I don't think he was "going too fast" but possibly following too close to the truck. All the way around--it was a tragic accident and I don't think he or the truck driver is at fault. I think it's just a compilation of dysfunction at that horrible exit! blessings.
ChrisG January 21, 2014 at 11:50 AM
@southern, you may be right about the circumstances but the fact remains he crashed into the truck. Did you notice the person that was behind him was not involved in the crash? I hope we find out the cause. I hope it was not phone related. I am thankful the wreck only involved these two vehicles.
G.G. January 21, 2014 at 11:50 AM
southernbelle, I understand what you are trying to express, but this exit is a mess and traffic is backed up here at all times during the day. There is no sign that Mr. Duran even applied the brakes as his impact was at such a force that it caused the extreme damage to his truck (see the pictures). We all get distracted and this is reminder to be especially careful in this section of the freeway. If Mr. Duran had been looking at the road, he would have been able to at least try to brake and pull off to the shoulder. It is sometimes very difficult to keep our eyes on the person in front of us while merging in this area. Again, this stretch of the freeway is horrible at any time of the day (especially with all the extra road construction going on there now.)
M. Lee Davis January 29, 2014 at 05:32 PM
@southernbelle Sorry but your assumptions are dead wrong. 1st, just to let you know, I work adjacent to where this accident took place. 2nd, traffic backs up to that point on a regular basis. Doesnt matter what time of the day it is. 3rd, From what I have heard from people who saw it happen they feel that he saw the rig at the last half second and tried to swerve to the right (should have gone left) and had no time to apply the brakes. I can hear when trucks brake suddenly. I hear all the traffic as it passes by. I can even begin to tell you how many times I hear truck drivers get on their horn when they are cut off. This time there was nothing. The truck driver was proceeding slow in the far right lane because traffic was backed up. It's evident by the debris field being about 100 feet long behind the Chevy. It had been backed up most of the morning. This is a dangerous spot because people are going fast and don't notice that traffic is backed up as they are looking over their left shoulder to see if it's safe to merge over. It's sad because he being a Murrieta resident he probably knew of the dangers of this spot.
Brenda January 29, 2014 at 09:01 PM
M.Lee Davis, what I would expect to be the cause. If anyone is going fast in the slow lane in our 8 mile of freeway it would be a once in a life time deal. Cause usually our slow lanes are just that, stop and go and maybe 40 mph if that. Too many people getting on and off and not watching what they are doing. Very sad this happened. and EVERYONE does know we have a bad, chitty, freeway system here, so be careful, more so then usual. Because no one cares if you are trying to move over lanes, left or right, or want to get on, or off the freeway, THEY WILL NOT SLOW DOWN.

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