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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

Aaron Powers January 18, 2014 at 02:59 PM
I respectfully disagree, Autumn Awesome, the people who cause the accidents are the ones whom make the poor decisions in the first place. Let's stop the shifting the blame game. I've never liked the term "auto accident," because there's always someone at fault. It's not an act of god that caused the wreck. Get in the back of the line, or wait until the Rancho California exit. The drivers that cut people off at the Winchester exit are inconsiderate and dangerous - it causes a chain reaction because everyone else has to brake for these selfish and entitled people. Also, they end up backing up the traffic in the lane to their left.
Commonzenze January 18, 2014 at 03:34 PM
@Aaron - I would add narcissistic and sociopath to selfish and entitle. These kind of drivers have no empathy for other human beings. You could be having this discussion in person and they still wouldn't care what you had to say. No one will ever be able to change these people, they think only of themselves and the 1-2 minutes they will save, screw everyone else.
Aaron Powers January 18, 2014 at 03:41 PM
@Commonzenze. So true, so true.
Abomb T January 18, 2014 at 07:33 PM
To the people that are defending not letting the "cutters" in, and blaming them for accidents are retarded. If you know the actual law then you would know that regardless of being on a freeway off ramp or sitting at a red light you must stay at least 3 car lengths away while in motion and one car lengths away while stopped. A white broken line means cars can (and will) merge within it. If it's a solid line then it's illegal to cross. So all you idiots trying to defend "not letting them in" you ignorant retards are violating the law and not the "cutters". That's why (unless recklessly being done) you don't see drivers being pulled over for it. Also like to say, there is no god and humans worst flaw is believing in a god!
Brenda January 18, 2014 at 08:02 PM
Aaron and Commonzenze, spot on. This driver could have also been caught in a chain reaction of looking in his mirrors, or over his shoulder trying to get over, with no one letting him of course, and during those actions, as so often happens, the traffic in front of him stopped and he didnt see it. It is nardissistic, sociopath, and their sense of entitlement that will not let them allow one car in. I have went down a lane of cars smiling, waving my hand nicely to be allowed in and car after car will just keep closing that small gap. I usually get into the exit lanes far in advance and am the one who does let people in. Funny thing is though I can leave room but those people who want in will still go screeching further down and CUT into the lane and slam on their brakes instead of taking the open space I leave in front of me. So it works both ways, going in the lane or allowing someone in can be the arse's buttucks. Chris? Ok, taking you off my friends list!! Thank you Southern for trying to explain. Chris if you sit at a signal and wait for all the drivers to go through when the light changes you will see many at almost every single darn intersection run the reds. I do not actually sit there for a full 5 minutes with people honking at me, geesh. Sometimes it does take that long for all the cars to go through, or a lone bike rider or walker to finish in the crosswalk, but I WAIT, until I am assured that every single car is stopped and it is 120% clear for me to go through safely. Yes, at my age I have seen far too many wrecks (I wont use accidents either), people, children die in a split second, read it weekly in the news in our small town. If I sit there for 5 seconds, or 4, 3, its because someone is still in that intersection or appears they are NOT going to stop. To this young mans family and friends posting, I am so very sorry for your loss.
Steve Newman January 18, 2014 at 08:03 PM
Brenda- well my life is complete- TemeculaLush has recognized me- oh joy, oh joy. Sarcasm intended.
Brenda January 18, 2014 at 08:09 PM
Recognized you? Steve? Dang do I need to go NSA on someone? LOL, hahaha, I cant get over that one! Chris, I just cant get over how mean you were here :/
Mrs. MacGillicuttie January 18, 2014 at 10:17 PM
This type accident recently happened on the 5 with a woman and small child. I am so upset looking at it again.
ChrisG January 18, 2014 at 10:25 PM
@brenda, I wasn't trying to be mean. I was suggesting that you go as soon as it's safe. Not counting five and then going after the light is green. That just pisses people off. If you are that unsure, or that afraid to drive maybe it's time you stopped. I know this town has a lot of crap drivers that run reds. Your policy is not a good one.
Brenda January 18, 2014 at 10:36 PM
@ ChrisG, AS HE stabs ME AGAIN! Gawd, it never ends. I do go when its safe, it might not require counting to 5 if everyone has stopped or is not still in crosswalks, or making lefts or rights, no one has ever honked at me or got pissed off, I am not unsure as I have driven since I was like 5, licensed at 16 and driven just about everything that has wheels, big and small, even in and out of off road race trucks, ie Baja 1000 type Fords working pits and I mean working them! then also getting in and taking those awesome rides at 150mph across a dang dirt road! Scared of driving, me? No that would definately NOT be me but I am scared of what idiots who are not paying attention can do when they run a red light and run over the drivers side of my mid size car, or the passenger seat where one of my daughters might be. Course driving my suburban I feel a bit more secure but even those will collapse on the drivers and passengers doors when hit hard enough in the right place. So, no ChrisG, definately NOT afraid to drive. ***wondering if he is going to sling more at me tonight, Sad Face, and we were buds!!***
southernbelle January 19, 2014 at 12:38 AM
@AbombT--yep--that's what I was trying to say in not such harsh words (hehehe).Everyone HAS THE RIGHT to MERGE---but many don't merge--they CUT dangerously, as Aaron P pointed out. And truly--it's not worth the risk. It seriously only takes me 3-5 minutes, even at Christmas time, to sit in the exit line. 5 minutes is worth lives! If everyone would stop being so damn stingy, impatient and road raging and just leave space enough for ppl to "merge" in toward the middle to back--most would be fine EXCEPT for the idiots who have to "CUT" in at the very last minute, over the white solid line. But yes--we can't always get to the back of the line because it's past where the freeways meet and no, we shouldn't have to drive past our exit IF we are being safe and truly "merging." anyway- can't wait till the new exit is built. And most importantly-- HEATHER, SHELBY, PATRICK- I think everyone here is very sorry for the death of this young man! Please accept condolences- it's heartbreaking and tragic. Please don't take the discussion personal--these headlines usually ignite "discussion" and sometimes really heated discussions because everyone is feeling angry about another soul lost. blessings.
Jenimar January 19, 2014 at 06:29 AM
My condolences to this family. I was rear-ended at this exit when I was 20 weeks pregnant. The man that hit us was going fwy speed when he slammed into us. It caused a lot of problems for me and my unborn child. I refused to get off at this exit.. in fear of people not paying attention to the sudden stop at this exit, Rancho Cal and now Temecula Parkway for that matter. The traffic congestion is stupid in Temecula. I commute to OC in the evenings and the most traffic I hit is in Temecula.
PD January 19, 2014 at 11:49 AM
My condolences to all involved with this terrible tragedy. The improvements to this offramp are so long overdue. Can we expect a lawsuit between Murrieta and Temecula now too, since Temecula's poor traffic planning and over-zealousness with business development off the Winchester exit is now leading to these accidents occurring on Murrieta turf?
my comment January 19, 2014 at 11:53 AM
@southernbelle you make good points but unfortunately it's just not realistic to expect people to drive with courtesy. Jerks drive with a total lack of respect for others. Sadly, in socal, using a turn signal just brings the inconsiderates to flip into defensive mode and try to block. I see this almost daily where some one literally makes some one else miss their exit or freeway change by blocking so aggressively, as if they get some kind of satisfaction from it.
southernbelle January 19, 2014 at 01:03 PM
@my comment--*shrug* for the most part, you're right. and that is really sad. Not that you're right, but that you're right about how people are. Well, the only one I can control is me…so I promise if we should ever meet on the road, I will extend courtesy. *pinkie promise* …and at the end of this conversation for me, I state to all that I will continue exiting this danger zone the way I have for 10 yrs because it's worked for me and has not put me, my family, or anyone around me in danger. I would die if I knew my dangerous actions caused some one else to lose a life!!!! no thank you--I got 5 extra minutes. blessings and safety to everyone.
Leah Chandler January 19, 2014 at 01:22 PM
So sorry to Juan's family and friends! My husband, 1 year old son and I were rear ended at this Winchester exit also! Apparently it happens often! :/
Brenda January 19, 2014 at 02:02 PM
@southerbelle, " I would die if I knew my dangerous actions caused some one else to lose a life!!!! no thank you--I got 5 extra minutes. blessings and safety to everyone." EXACTLY and THAT is why people need to look at it this way. Who seriously could ever get over running a red light and killing someone? Or cutting off a lane of traffic and having someone have to slam on their brakes so hard, but not quite stop fast enough? Anyone behind a tractor trailer, or a big truck does NOT stand a chance. (not to say this is how this accident happened)I know I couldnt. Our stretch of freeway had been going pretty well since like the summer and I hope this was just one single incident.
Larry January 19, 2014 at 03:14 PM
@southernbelle a DOT bumper is the bumper on the back of the trailer that the DOT required some years ago to prevent cars from going under the back of semi trailers in the event of a rear end collision. Unfortunately in this case the truck hit on the outside corner where the bumper is the weakest. With a heavy vehicle such as a truck, it would collapse the bumper. Unfortunately the way trailers are designed the bumper mounts have to be attached along the rails of the trailer which run along the inner 2/3 of the trailer leaving the outsides vulnerable to weaker tolerances. That said, this shouldn't have happened but it did. The truck was in the correct lane, takes much further to stop, and is under much more stringent repair and inspection laws and regulations than a car or truck. I'm not saying it was the deceased's fault either, sometimes accidents just happen. However looking at how far the truck traveled under the trailer, knowing how much it takes to collapse a 4x4" square steel bumper and the result of the collision, I think it is safe to assume it wasn't traveling at a slow speed (under 20mph). Sad for the family of the deceased AND for the driver of the semi-truck that has to not only go through a scrutinizing investigation but also lives with the death of another on his conscience.
southernbelle January 19, 2014 at 11:11 PM
@Larry--thank you--I actually was looking at 18 wheelers yesterday and noticed that dropped bar in the back, figuring that's what it was. I never noticed that before. Also-I shared in another forum that when my husband saw the picture, it triggered a memory of a time he was merging from the 15 into the exit. He was behind an 18 wheeler. As he sped up when he saw an opening, looked over his right shoulder to cross lanes, at that same moment, the car sped up to close in and the 18 wheeler braked because of whatever was in front of him (most likely another car braking to merge in). My husband said he had a split second to make things right, but it was very near an accident and HIM going under the truck. Very very scary! How MEAN and DANGEROUS of the person to speed up and close in so he couldn't merge--and it was no where near the end of the exit! How horrible if this was a similar situation. heartbreaking--on another forum it's said he had a fiancé. poor girl. @Brenda-- agree!
Larry January 20, 2014 at 12:32 AM
@southernbelle Well as an owner of a trucking company AND someone who's lost a family member to an accident with a semi truck I unfortunately have the view from both sides. Also as unfortunate is that I see what people have said about cutting in, texting, etc. It makes me crazy to watch the madness of people trying to save themselves a minute or two at the cost of others without the slightest concern or guilt about their actions or results of those actions. Would they handle a gun just as recklessly around others or their own families? I don't think so. Where as a car is just as deadly (more so if you check statistics) people still use them carelessly and take chances they would not normally take if they weren't comfortably wrapped in a steel cocoon believing that their abilities are far better than they really are. Simple common sense and some courtesy would prevent almost every complaint I've read here. I hope that if there's anything positive that can come from this tragedy (and I'm not saying any of those involved were in any way doing any of what I said to cause it) I do hope that at least one person wakes up and helps prevent another tragedy in the future. But I know that is asking too much of the selfish "me first because I'm more important than everyone else" attitude society that we've become. Which in itself is the biggest tragedy of all.
Larry January 20, 2014 at 12:43 PM
@TemeculaFarmer You're in quite a rush to sue someone. The cause of the crash hasn't even been determined yet. You probably complain that your taxes are too high as well, which is partly caused by lawsuits from people trying to sue too quickly.... remember, when you point your finger at others, three of your fingers are pointing back at yourself.
Temecula farmer January 20, 2014 at 01:17 PM
Hey Larry, as a local private employer my feet are held to the fire by people who I sign contracts with. In 30 years I have never been sued nor have I sued anyone! The difference between the private sector and public sector is enormous. As a private citizen I am worn out watching these type of projects that cost you and I HUGE tax dollars, take months longer and millions of dollars more than promised and contracted for. It's important that private citizens keep an eye on these type of projects and hold responsible the public officials and companies under contract. Believe me these overruns cost far more than a justified lawsuit. Do you really think this young man would have lost his life if this project was finished on time as promised?? I think not.
ChrisG January 20, 2014 at 02:28 PM
This is a high accident zone. Unfortunately, this wreck is likely to have happened regardless of the construction. He was driving too fast and not paying attention. I am looking forward to the accident report.
G.G. January 20, 2014 at 07:28 PM
First of all, my heart goes out to Mr. Duran's friends, family and loved ones. What a tragedy. Next, I have to say that I agree with ChrisG and others on here regarding this accident. I drive that area of the freeway every day on my way home from work and it is a horrible section of the road. I ALWAYS slow down and I am very, very cautious through this section. I am going south on 215 so I have to merge onto 15. Anyone who has driven there knows that you absolutely cannot take your eyes off the road or the vehicle in front of you for even a fraction of a second. For this accident to happen as it did, it seems this is what happened. Vehicles stop abruptly in this area. It appears that with the impact speed, it is very likely the driver's attention was distracted and he did not have time to even slow down or brake. Please remember to be particularly alert in this area, slow down, no texting or cell phone usage and be prepared to stop quickly. I hope whatever they are doing to this area by adding yet another off ramp doesn't turn into a bigger nightmare.
ChrisG January 20, 2014 at 07:40 PM
I too wish to extend my condolences but cannot help but wonder what would have happened if he hit my family in either of our small cars. Please pay attention.
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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