2 Hospitalized in Head-On Crash

A car careens down Rancho Californian Road, smashing into six cars.

Two people were hospitalized in a six-car pileup today.

A red Nissan Altima sped east on Rancho California Road around 3 p.m., smashed into numerous vehicles before veering into opposing traffic and hitting a black Lincoln four-door head on, according to witnesses.

Two people were rushed to a hospital with serious injuries, according to sheriff's Deputy Daniel Hoctor.

The driver of the Altima accelerated into the crash, said Larry Abbott, a Temecula resident who was driving the Lincoln.

"It's like (the driver) passed out and was pushing full-blast on the accelerator," Abbott said.

Mysterious circumstances

Some of the victims encountered the red vehicle only a few minutes earlier in the hills of De Luz.

Boston resident Geoff Fisher was driving toward Temecula with several friends when they found the Altima stopped in the middle of the road with the driver's door wide open, he said.

"He was sitting in the middle of the road with the door open, just sitting there," Fisher said.

They began to slowly pass him when the driver closed his door and started to drive, he said.

"He stopped and started several times," he said.

He reached a wider area of the road and Fisher passed the car, only to be rear-ended by it a few minutes later, he said.

"I wish we hadn't passed him," he said.

Driver's condition

Though official word on the Altima driver's condition was unavailable, witnesses said he was badly injured.

"His legs were all twisted around his back," said John Newman, a De Luz resident whose vehicle was hit.

Teresa Stravers September 09, 2011 at 01:59 AM
I was turning left onto Rancho California Rd from Ynez as this took place. I saw the red car burst into flames. I of course also noticed all the other cars pilled up, I thought to myself "What in the heck happened?" I pray for everybody that was involved is okay.
Rich September 09, 2011 at 03:45 AM
Who ever is responsible for this mess should be held responsible for the suffering of those affected. Take them to court and sue them for damages. Maybe then people would learn to drive responsibly
stef September 09, 2011 at 04:19 AM
I was in the melee, but thankfully didn't get hit. This person hit the guy behind me, and because of it, that guy was forced into hitting another car. The person then seemed to speed up and changed lanes to get away -- I immediately thought he was trying to hit and run, until he came upon the intersection where the left turners from Ynez head-on'd into him. He spun and hit others. It all goes back to the one person. From the article he was obviously having issues, but what a sad way to deal with it. So many affected!
Local resident September 09, 2011 at 04:44 AM
Did it ever occur to you people that the person who caused this accident was an elderly man who may have passed out, had a stroke, or a heart attack which caused him to have no control of his vehicle? No one knows at this time the circumstances, so don't be so quick to judge. This man was unconscious and trapped in his car while it was on fire with his leg mangled and had no idea what happened.
Mimi September 09, 2011 at 02:40 PM
Rich- As easy as it sounds to simply sue everybody to make them learn their lesson, it just doesn't work that way. My husband and I were in an accident and it took months to recover, especially for him: He had to have 3 surgeries. He hasn't worked since the accident and still has trouble walking. The insurance companies paid us off and our bills were paid, but we didn't make much out of the deal. To sue the people that caused the accident would be a waste of time because all they would have to do is file bankruptcy and they wouldn't have to give us a cent. It could have taken years in court to settle and all I would have had was a large attorney bill. Lawsuits don't always help the vicitms.
Rich September 09, 2011 at 02:57 PM
Of course that is what happened. And the guy who stole the tip jar at Starbucks was just providing for little Timmy who is sick and near needs a doctor.
S.S. September 09, 2011 at 04:54 PM
If it was in fact an elderly man, that would be extremely sad. However, from the behavior he was showing prior to the accident, it seems like he should not have had a license in the first place. If you have a license and are driving a car, you are responsible for your actions regardless of age.
Local Resident September 09, 2011 at 10:29 PM
Are there any updates to the story as far as what was going on with the driver?? Was he elderly or drunk or having a bad reaction to a drug or just suicidal??
S.S. September 10, 2011 at 12:52 AM
I know, I wonder too. I cant help but think that if it was an elderly man, (as one of the pictures above looks like an elderly man on the stretcher) that if someone saw him sitting in his stopped car in the middle of the street prior to the accident, why wouldn't they have stopped to see if he was alright?
Paul September 10, 2011 at 10:03 AM
I hope the reporter does follow up stories on this. Any one of the above comments might be true, or maybe none of the guesses. People can and do have heart attacks or strokes suddenly. Some people do take illegal drugs and have bad reactions. Some people take FDA approved prescription drugs and have bad reactions. Lots of people drink too much alcohol and get in wrecks. A man I know was hit head on by a car from the other side of the freeway That drive was angry, he had lost his job and his wife had filed for divorce, he decided to commit suicide and take someone with him, but my coworker survived.
Local resident September 10, 2011 at 07:16 PM
The man was elderly, looked to be in his 70-80's. I was one to help pull him out of His car that was on fire. It is possible that he was not feeling well as he was coming down the hill and no one stopped to help him so he continued on. Unfortunately, you can be fine and clear minded when you get in the car and sudden things such as heart attack or stroke come on without notice. I pray that he and everyone else that was hurt is healing!
stef September 11, 2011 at 02:52 AM
I agree with you to have sensitivity as it's all figured out. I hope everyone recovers.
HarvestonFam September 11, 2011 at 03:45 AM


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