Murrieta Man Dies in Head-On Collision

Richard "Dick" Johnson, 84, of the La Cresta area west of Murrieta, died shortly after the car he was driving was hit head-on. The crash occurred at 8:50 p.m. Wednesday in the 38900 block of Clinton Keith Road.

UPDATE 2 p.m. July 7: The driver of the pick-up in the accident is expected to survive his injuries, Murrieta Police said Thursday.

Investigators with the Murrieta Police Department have ordered toxicology tests on the driver, as they suspect alcohol could have been a factor in the accident, said Murrieta police Lt. Tony Conrad.

Toxicology reports can take weeks to process. If results come back positive, the driver could potentially face charges, the lieutenant said.


An elderly Murrieta man died late Wednesday when the car he was driving was hit head-on.

Richard "Dick" Johnson, 84, was pronounced dead at 9:33 p.m., shortly after he was rushed to Inland Valley Medical Center to be treated for life-threatening injuries suffered in the crash, according to the Riverside County Coroner's office.

At about 8:50 p.m., Johnson was driving an older model Lincoln sedan, traveling in the 38900 block of Clinton Keith Road near Cal Fire/Riverside County Station No. 75.

Traveling in the opposite direction was the driver of a pick-up truck, which hit Johnson head on, according to the coroner's office.

The Murrieta Police Department is handling the crash investigation.

The driver of the pick-up truck, a 44-year-old man, also suffered critical injuries. No word on his condition was available.

Johnson was a longtime La Cresta resident and a horseman, friends said. He owned a ranch property known as Diamond J Ranch. Retired, Johnson formerly owned a car dealership in Orange County. He had a large family and was married.

Bob Sutton July 08, 2011 at 02:04 AM
Dick, You were a uniquely friendly and kind man, and you made my Wife Karen, feel right at home during the steer cutting contest at Ed's place. Every time I met you at a pot luck, you extended your hand in friendship and had nice things to say. You were among a small group of people who made Karen and I feel welcome in La Cresta. May you have eternal peace and joy. Bob Sutton
Karen Sutton July 08, 2011 at 02:25 AM
Dick, My heart aches... I am so sad for your lovely, kind wife Nina. I was right behind the accident last night and went by without knowing who was in that mess. I couldn't believe it when I found out it was you. You always gave a smile and a kiss on the cheek. Thank you again for rescuing me last year in the sorting warm up pin. We will all miss you!!! Karen xoxo
lindsay lundberg July 08, 2011 at 03:32 AM
Dick, you were a great man, my mother worked for you and Nina and she absolutely loved being there. We loved coming up and you showing us your beautiful ranch. You will be missed heavenly father will take care of you. Lindsay xoxo
Kirk Jorgenson July 08, 2011 at 04:15 AM
A great man was lost in this accident. Dick was a truly devoted husband and father. His loss will be felt by all who knew him, especially by his dear wife. May Heavenly Father bless those whose hearts are tender because of this loss.
Michelle Macmillan July 08, 2011 at 06:27 AM
I wish you didn't leave us, I always loved to see you! Love, Ryan MacMillan
Angela Fisher-Johnson July 08, 2011 at 07:52 AM
I'm so sad to hear about Dick passing. I've known the Johnson family since 1978. I used to go over to their house and ride Bart all the time. I even watched Charles and Diana's wedding there! He was a great man. Kind and generous. Always willing to help. I know that he will be sorely missed, but it's comforting to know that I/we will see him again. I pray that Heavenly Father is with his family and bless them to find peace in their hearts.
Sheri Robertson Whitton July 08, 2011 at 12:36 PM
A bright light has been taken away. Dick was always willing to share that light with any and all who crossed his path. He recently wrote a poem that so fittingly portrays who he was. (referring to the Lord) "...He has a place for us that surpasses anything we know, in all these things, our gratitude must show. So "Thanks Dear Lord" for thy loving care, For our families, our lives and all that we share." by Dick Johnson. It was a privilege to call him friend.
Pastor John Wells July 08, 2011 at 01:26 PM
My prayers to the Johnson Family
Judy Etchandy July 08, 2011 at 02:57 PM
My heart has been very heavy from the news of Dicks passing. He was one of a kind. A man that had such a BIG heart. The love for his Family "and" Friends was amazing. I feel sooooo blessed to have known such a WONDERFUI man, and to say " he was my Friend". My God be with your Family. May he bless and comfort them. And to you Dick..."God be with you till we meet again".....Judy Etchandy oxox
Heidi July 08, 2011 at 03:56 PM
My heart broke when I heard the news of this horrific accident. Dick, you and Nina became my 2nd parents for those 2 wonderful years I worked with Nina. I have many, many wonderful memories with you and the family. You were always so kind and generous to my children, Lindsay and Zach when I would bring them to work, taking them riding. You and Nina's love for each other was such an example to me. You will always be a shining light to us. I will forever love you and my second family eternally. Heidi Skinner
Diane July 09, 2011 at 12:34 AM
For crying out loud, this is a rural area, outside a fire station, that is well-lit, and involved a drunk driver. What do you need more lights so you can see what the drunk is hitting? Dick was a friend of mine, and he, like I, would not have wanted more light pollution.
Joanne Bates July 09, 2011 at 01:13 AM
I am deeply saddened by the passing of this great gentleman. He always had a smile on his face and was so friendly and hospitable to all. I am glad I was able to attend his 80th birthday bash. You never would have guessed his age, as he was so young at heart. My heart and prayers go out to his dear wife Nina, and family, and their great loss of such a fine patriarch. May the good Lord bless all of you in your time of need. He has dimmed our world by passing, but has brightened the Heavens with his special spirit already. Joanne Bates
Tina Ogden July 09, 2011 at 01:57 AM
We are so very sorry to hear of Dick's horrible accident. Though we haven't seen the family for many years, we know how wonderful they are and we know he will be sorely missed. God bless you, Nina, and your precious family and know how much you are in everyone's prayers. Walt & Tina Ogden
mary July 09, 2011 at 02:01 AM
mary July 09, 2011 at 02:02 AM
So sorry for the Johnson family's loss...how do they know alcohol was the factor?
Scott Scheller July 09, 2011 at 03:05 AM
Jodie and I though the most of Dick. He was a wonderful husband, father, gentleman and horseman. No one confronted life's struggles with more fortitude and honesty. We were proud to know him and call him friend.
Lisa July 09, 2011 at 07:48 PM
Some of us understand that you were just expressing sympathy and concern over this tragedy
J Freidberg July 09, 2011 at 10:41 PM
My heart broke when I heard of his sudden and tragic passing. Our thoughts & prayers are with Nina and his children. Dick had a wonderful and unique sense of humor, love of life, family and love of the horses. He will be missed.
Richard Johnson July 10, 2011 at 03:22 PM
ken miskam July 10, 2011 at 04:40 PM
Ken and Roxane The world has lost a loving soul. Dick knew heaven was waiting for him....but I don't think he realized he would be taken so soon. I know for us left behind the pain of his loss is hard to take and rationalize why him? It's tough to understand God's plan. But I do know Heaven is a better place with Dick bring there! Our prayers are with his family....stay strong in your faith.
Heather Crone July 10, 2011 at 05:26 PM
I am absolutely heartbroken about this loss. Dick was such a warm welcoming generous man. I remember our nights at the Murrieta arena sorting, and just having a ball. So full of life, taken from us all way too soon. I send the warmest of hugs to the beautiful Johnson family. This is so tragic. I know he's in heaven waiting to give us his sweet kisses on our cheeks.
Katie July 11, 2011 at 04:00 AM
That man who died was my grandpa... may he rest in peace.
Sheri Lauzon July 11, 2011 at 05:13 AM
Mark and I are so very sad about Dick, we have known the Johnson family for 20 years and Dick was such a warm loving man full of life!! He will be missed so very very much!! Our hearts go out to all the Johnson family.
Todd July 11, 2011 at 10:04 PM
Our family is so sad and heartbroken over this news. I have always looked up to Dick and Nina for their tremendous examples of being great people. Nina, you and your family is in our thougts and prayers at this most difficult time. - Todd Sincock
Deborah Ann Robinson Carey July 12, 2011 at 06:20 PM
We are still shocked by the loss of Dick Johnson in this horrible accident. Dick was our neighbor and will miss his daily "ride bys" on his horse. Our thoughts are with Nina and the family. We greatly appreciate having the Johnsons as neighbors and are SO sorry for their loss.........Glenn and Debbie
Holly July 14, 2011 at 06:29 PM
What a terrible loss of a wonderful man, I feel blessed and thankful to of known him. Holly Sik
Betty Robles July 15, 2011 at 02:44 AM
I did not know Dick Johnson. I was two cars in back when the accident happend. I saw Dick Monday driving his truck in the 4th of July Parade in La Cresta and said hi to him. I am soooo sadden to learn that it was him. I know he is in heaven with our Lord and I know he will be greatly missed. Betty Robles
Fay Dorn July 18, 2011 at 05:10 AM
I met Dick as I was doing my daily walk past his home. He was on horseback and rode up to me introduced himself and invited me to stop by his home to meet his wife as he related that she was wheelchair bound and they would both be delighted for my company. He was one of the most warmest and most hospitable person I've ever met since moving to La Cresta 2 years ago. Today I slowed to read the sign posted along the hiway and saw his name and my heart as been heavy eversince. My sincere condolences to his family. He was a wonderful person. Fay Dorn
shirley rowley hoff February 28, 2012 at 09:25 PM
Dear Nina and family, I have known Dick since the early 50's when he lived in Bellflower and had the Studebaker agency and I worked for his father Clyde once in a while when I was in college and dated Dick briefly.and enjoyed some wonderful discussions.. When I ran into him many years ago, I was so happy to learn he had married a wonderful gal with great values and could see he had finally found true happiness and he had some small children that he was so proud of. Such a sad passing of a wonderful human being who always cared for others. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him. I am so happy to learn that in his later years he returned to his love of the rural Kansas type life that he was able to enjoy with the love of his life and his children. May G-d bless and comfort you all. Love, Shirley Rowley Hoff p. s. the pictures on the internet were a wonderful memorial and done so tastefully. I presume the other lady in the wheel chair was his sister, Margie. Please extend my condolences to her, also.
Renee Handsaker August 21, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Dick Johnson I will Miss you So and i will miss all of your Family Too !!!! Sincerely Renee H


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