CHP: Wrong Way Drunken Driver Behind Deadly Head-On Crash in Winchester

A Banning man died in a weekend crash near Menifee, after his vehicle was hit by a suspected drunken driver, according to the CHP and coroner's reports.

The Scene late Saturday night. (Credit: Joe Fanaselle)
The Scene late Saturday night. (Credit: Joe Fanaselle)

A suspected wrong-way drunken driver plowed his car head- on into an oncoming vehicle on Domenigoni Parkway, killing one person in the second car and badly hurting a 4-year-old girl in it, officials report.

Gerardo Cornejo, 20, of Nuevo, reportedly crossed over into the eastbound lanes, just west of Leon Road in the Winchester area. It was reported at about 10:05 p.m. Saturday.

Cornejo's 1994 Honda Civic slammed into a 2007 Suzuki RX4 that had three people in it. The front passenger, Amos Yang, 27, of Banning, was taken to Menifee Valley Medical Center, where he died.

[RELATED: Lane Media was on scene, click here for more photos, video]

A four-year-old passenger in the Suzuki's back seat, Claire Yang, also of Banning, was taken to Inland Valley Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries, according to the CHP. It was not known if the two passengers were related.

The driver of the Sukuki, Pa Thao, 27, of Banning, suffered major injuries and was taken to Inland Valley Medical Center. Her medical condition was not immediately known.

Cornejo's Civic also hit a Dodge Ram pickup truck, and the two people in it had minor injuries.

Cornejo was taken to Inland Valley Medical Center for treatment of major injuries and was arrested for suspicion of drunken driving, the CHP said.

—City News Service.
southernbelle February 23, 2014 at 10:41 PM
Just read some more details. Cornejo had critical injuries and internal bleeding and actually may not survive. The couple and daughter were coming back from picking up the husband, father from work. The picture shows a completely annihilated heap of metal--can't even tell what sort of vehicle it was! It's pretty amazing that everyone wasn't killed! more details here: http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/local/inland_empire&id=9442328
ChrisG February 23, 2014 at 11:48 PM
If he's lucky he won't survive. Same with that Culbreath girl that killed that family and her sister driving drunk on the 60 a few weeks ago. Still, even that won't be justice for the innocent lives taken by these stupid, selfish acts. I feel no pity for these drunk drivers and other reckless drivers like that motorcycle guy on Ortega. My family is safer without their kind on the road. A big F U to them.
Timber February 24, 2014 at 12:05 AM
Saturday nights DUI Checkpoint was located about seven miles north of the location of this terrible loss. Where was the deterrent effect from this 'highly publicized' checkpoint? Nine citations were written though.
Sherry February 24, 2014 at 10:04 AM
lately there seems to be a lot more vehicle slaughter... turning out to be like gun control isn't it... how do you keep the vehicle out of the hands of the irresponsibles..........RIP mr. yang
Deborah February 24, 2014 at 11:00 AM
So sad, what the hell is wrong with people. On a second note, who writes these articles? They are always so poorly written. 4 year old girl badly injured then a paragraph down says minor injuries....don't know if the passengers were related? Well, let's see, both have the same last name and one is only 4....pretty sure one might be able to figure it out. And even if you weren't sure, why make such a silly comment, need to fill space? I always wonder if anyone ever proof reads or if the people writing them are actually journalists.
Ken February 24, 2014 at 11:13 AM
Thank goodness cornejo wasn't smoking a cigarette. We all know how dangerous those things are and how many lives they take. Ya lets ban smoking but allow alcohol and we will have more sad endings like this. The majority of people against smoking drink and many of them to excess.
Rob Murillo February 24, 2014 at 11:32 AM
I once was almost hit by a drunk driver late in the evening.. so, I turned around and followed him into a jack in the box drive thru. I got out of my car and confronted the guy.. he smelled like alcohol. I reached in his driver window and I pulled the keys out of the ignition.. my brother who was with me had already called police by this time. Guy gets out yelling " what is this? 21 jump street?" Finally cops come and arrest him.. Cop had the nerve to chew me out because I reached in and grabbed the guys keys. I told the officer I would not of been able to live with myself had that drunken driver speed off and killed someone else.. So, I feel I did nothing wrong.. I was 19 at the time and the drunk driver was probably in his 50's.. I believe these guys need to be locked up for good!
Judy M Manning February 24, 2014 at 11:36 AM
I never picked up a cigarette in my life but got lung cancer from what they said was related to second hand smoke. When I drink I don't drive....simple common courtesy!. Lost in America!
southernbelle February 24, 2014 at 12:12 PM
@deborah-ugh! You read an article like this and the only thing you manage to sum up is bitching about the writing of the article???! give the editors a break. they just downsized and everyone has several cities they're working double time trying to keep up with. We're actually lucky to get local news right now. You want edited articles that meet your requirements--go buy an LA Times. Otherwise, be thankful we at least get some hometown news. ps--a man was killed, a child was hurt, and the lives of several have been affected by a drunk driver, who may survive. there, that's the bottom line.
Scarf ace February 24, 2014 at 12:23 PM
Mexicans + Budweisers = Disasters
SA February 24, 2014 at 01:19 PM
Why couldn’t my ex be included in this? #sarcasm … This is very sad and someone should have stopped the ass from driving …
Jeff Kleiner February 24, 2014 at 02:13 PM
More "surprised" check points. Especially around main streets where bars are located. If you are not willing to pay more in taxes then this is the result. It's why reed light cameras were important. More speed traps. We need more protection from alcohol is every possible way. If you are not happy with higher taxes to pay for safety.....shut the hell up.
BLUESGUITAR777 February 24, 2014 at 02:22 PM
I'm okay with police keeping an eye on drivers coming out the bars but not the extra red light and speeding cameras. Those things are faulty as hell and checkpoints are just plain unconstitutional. No thank you. I prefer dangerous freedom to peaceful slavery. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- As good ol' Ben Franklin said "Those who would sacrifice their essential liberties for the sake of safety, deserve neither."
Molly February 24, 2014 at 02:24 PM
RIP Amos Yang.....hope the rest of your Family survive this horrible accident. My thoughts and prayers are with your Family and Friends
Andre Webster February 24, 2014 at 03:03 PM
Andre Webster February 24, 2014 at 03:08 PM
I guess its cool to drink in drive now ! This dumb ass posting pics of himself in the car with beer https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=671518186212348&set=pcb.671524166211750&type=1&relevant_count=3
Andre Webster February 24, 2014 at 03:10 PM
taken the day of the crash https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=706830779347755&set=pb.100000625184138.-2207520000.1393272523.&type=3&src=https%3A%2F%2Ffbcdn-sphotos-e-a.akamaihd.net%2Fhphotos-ak-prn2%2Ft1%2F1508161_706830779347755_1780013965_n.jpg&size=539%2C960
Molly February 24, 2014 at 03:23 PM
Thank you Andre Webster. This is sicken beyond words
BLUESGUITAR777 February 24, 2014 at 04:00 PM
Facebook... busting stupid people since February 4, 2004.
southernbelle February 24, 2014 at 04:43 PM
whoa, clearly a young man with a drinking problem. Scary that he and his homeboys played with guns so carelessly--pointing at each other, mock hold-ups. The man drinking with them--uh...isn't it illegal to contribute alcohol to minors? this young punk was a ticking time bomb.
ChrisG February 24, 2014 at 04:55 PM
@andre, thank you for posting those photos. That young punk is a look-a-like to that very feminine Justin Bieber. He will be very popular in prison. :)
SA February 24, 2014 at 05:00 PM
Kliener … Shut the heck up … We do not need more of a Police State and even when if Temecula / Murrieta had the largest police force, they would not be able to stop these tragic accidents … Can they stop someone from doing dope? Please get a grip…
Griz Adams February 24, 2014 at 05:15 PM
Leave it up to Jeff to use something like this to advocate for more taxes.
Bd February 24, 2014 at 05:43 PM
Jeff, we're perfectly happy to pay for safety, but that should come first since that's the primary role of government, all the other stuff comes after.
ChrisG February 24, 2014 at 06:02 PM
Please ignore Jeff. His kind is full of great ideas on how to waste our hard earned taxpayer money.
Infidel Jones February 24, 2014 at 10:40 PM
Per usual, the typical neo-prohibitionists will weigh in with their asinine calls for even stricter draconian laws and UNCONSTITUTIONAL checkpoints...but all these absurdly low blood alcohol limits and outrageous, extortionist fines do is punish the "average citizen." These measures DON'T deter the sort of people who drive the wrong way on the freeway while in a near-comatose state! All told, the harm caused by BIG GOV'T. and its BIG LAWS outweighs even the terrible tragedy caused by nutcases who plow into others like this.
john blackwood February 25, 2014 at 05:41 AM
If one single American is willing to give up his freedom and constitutional rights , By allowing the governments to act as a false sense of security does not deserve to be free but a slave of the government. No were in the constitution does it say that wevard entitled to be protected by the police . Thats why we have the 2nd amendment. Ss far as checkpoints , cameras , speed traps .I have the right go travel to and from with out being molested or harassed .As long as I dont hurt anyone else or ones property .I have the right to travel as fast ss I want .As long as I do not damGe or hurt someone else .If such happens then it will be litigated bythe court of law Iif such a crime is committed.
southernbelle February 25, 2014 at 11:12 AM
@Infidel--that outrageously low alcohol limit and exuberant fine has deterred both my husband and I, our entire adult lives, from drinking and driving. Maybe we're the only 2 average citizens in America, but….worked for us. And my truth is, I KNOW for a fact I couldn't get behind a wheel after 1 glass of wine and drive like I do completely sober. Could I drive…sure, I could mechanically operate my vehicle. But I know that I am feeling tipsy, which means that somehow, in some way my judgement would be impaired. It's never been worth the risk to us. I think that is the bottom line of it--is drinking and driving worth it to the person who makes the choice to do it. If so, they ought to consider and evaluate their self control issues.
Deborah February 25, 2014 at 05:42 PM
Soapbox much southernbelle?
southernbelle March 01, 2014 at 02:48 AM
@deborah- kettle. black. much?


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