TEMECULA, Calif. — Authorities today are continuing to search for a man seen fleeing the scene of a major injury, rollover traffic collision in Temecula Tuesday afternoon, June 23.
Video and photographs taken by a witness to the crash and later shared to social media showed a man running from the scene of the collision, which happened on Rancho California Rd., just west of the southbound I-15 freeway off-ramp.
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Deputies from the Southwest Sheriff’s Station and other emergency personnel were dispatched to the scene at 2:51 p.m., after receiving reports of a two-vehicle, rollover traffic collision, Riverside Sheriff’s St. Raemie Wood later said of the ongoing hit and run investigation.
When officials arrived at the scene of the crash they found a black Jeep Patriot overturned in the westbound lanes of traffic on Rancho California Rd., just west of the southbound I-15 Freeway off-ramp.
A witness to the hit and run collision captured photos and video of Temecula resident, Domingo Cruz, running from the scene of an injury traffic collision. The other driver sustained major injuries and an arrest warrant has been issued for Cruz. Maggie Mora Boylston photo
The seriously injured driver of the Jeep was trapped inside their wrecked vehicle and firefighters began a cut and rescue operation to free the victim.
The second vehicle, a green Toyota pick-up truck with major front-end damage, was found unoccupied in the intersection, just east of the Jeep.
While firefighters used the “Jaws of Life” to extricate the injured and trapped driver of the Jeep, deputies learned the driver of the Toyota who caused the collision had fled the scene prior to their arrival.
Firefighters quickly managed to free the driver of the overturned Jeep and the victim was rushed to a nearby hospital for emergency medical treatment, according to Raemie; who described the driver’s injuries as major.
During their subsequent investigation, deputies interviewed several witnesses to the crash and determined the Jeep was exiting the southbound I-15 Freeway off-ramp and making a left turn onto Rancho California Rd. just before the collision.
At the same time the Toyota was traveling westbound on Rancho California Rd. approaching the intersection.
As the Jeep entered the intersection on a green light, the driver of the Toyota failed to slow down or stop for his red light and plowed broadside into the driver’s side of the Jeep, causing it to overturn.
As their investigation continued, deputies positively identified Domingo Cruz, 40, as the person who fled the scene of the major-injury crash. He was last seen running westbound on Rancho California Rd., toward Jefferson Rd. (See video below.)
Cruz has been described as standing five-foot-seven, and weighing about 130 pounds. He has brown hair, brown eyes, and is a resident of Temecula.
Despite searching for Cruz, deputies had not located him as of this report.
Based on their investigation, deputies issued a warrant for Cruz’ arrest and are asking the public’s help locating him.
Anyone with information regarding this hit and run traffic collision is encouraged to call Deputy Frank Opice at the Southwest Sheriff Station, 951-696-3000. Callers can refer to incident file number TE201750129 and can remain anonymous.
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Trevor Montgomery, 48, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, (the now defunct) Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.
Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)
During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.
Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.
Trevor has been married for more than 29 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 16 grandchildren.