A motorist who suffered life-threatening injuries in a collision with a pickup truck on Interstate 215 in Murrieta, causing an hourslong shutdown of lanes, was allegedly going too fast and making abrupt turns, triggering the wreck, the California Highway Patrol said Thursday.
Conner Campos, 18, of Menifee suffered major injuries in the crash at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday on northbound I-215 at Clinton Keith Road, the CHP said.
Officer Mike Lassig said that Campos was driving a 2003 Honda Accord through Murrieta and was in the fast lane of the 215 when he approached a 2005 Dodge Ram pickup with a trailer in the adjacent lane, traveling roughly 55 mph.
Lassig said that Campos was at or near 90 mph when he “made an unsafe” turn to the right, veering across all traffic lanes and impacting a guardrail on the shoulder.
The sedan then came back toward the pickup, prompting the driver to take “evasive action” and steer to the left to avoid the Honda, according to Lassig. However, the smaller vehicle collided into the passenger side of the pickup, causing both vehicles to “spin out of control across northbound traffic lanes,” the CHP spokesman said.
Campos was hurled out of the driver’s side window because he wasn’t wearing a safety restraint, Lassig said.
The Honda and Dodge came to rest in the middle of the freeway. No other vehicles were involved.
Murrieta Fire & Rescue crews arrived within minutes and found Campos seriously hurt. He was taken to Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar, where he remains in critical condition, Lassig said.
The driver and two passengers in the pickup, all from Aguanga, suffered minor injuries and received treatment at Loma Linda Hospital in Murrieta, according to Lassig.
The entire northbound side of I-215 was closed for more than two hours while the wreckage was cleared and a preliminary investigation was conducted.