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