■ By Kyle Selby / Reporter
Just last week, a near-fatal vehicle collision was the third of three recent Hemet Police Department officer-involved, Hemet-based traffic collisions within the last four months. Below is a timeline of the three separate accidents with the most updated information.
July 24 injury collision requires physical extrication
At approximately 10:15 p.m. on July 24, Hemet Fire Department responded to an officer-involved collision at the intersection of Stetson Avenue and Kirby Street in front of Seven Hills Golf Resort. The collision involved three vehicles: a silver Chrysler 300 driven by a 25-year-old Hemet resident, a black 1997 Infiniti Q4 driven by a 31-year-old Hemet resident, and a marked Hemet Police Department patrol vehicle.
According to the press release from the California Highway Patrol, an on-duty Hemet police sergeant was traveling westbound on Stetson Avenue approaching Kirby Street. The driver of the Infiniti struck the patrol vehicle, and one or both vehicles were subsequently struck by the Chrysler within the intersection.
Two of the vehicles suffered major damage. The Chrysler and Infiniti ended up collided against a light pole, and the driver of the Chrysler required physical extrication and was transported via air ambulance to Riverside University Health System with major injuries. The Hemet police sergeant suffered minor injuries, and the driver of the Infiniti was uninjured, according to the release.
A witness who requested not to be identified stated that it looked like the accident was probably the result of two cars racing down the avenue when a police car attempted to stop them.
The names and identities of the involved parties have still not been officially released to the public.
HPD faulted for April 28 injury collision
A collision at the intersection of Acacia Avenue and Palm Avenue at approximately 7 p.m. on April 28 resulted in two critically damaged vehicles, one belonging to Hemet Police K9 Officer Andrew Reynoso.
Reynoso was driving his black and white 2007 Ford Crown Vic wrong-way, eastbound in the westbound lane of Acacia Avenue, entering the intersection with Palm Avenue with activated sirens, driving a reported 20 miles per hour, obeying the 35 mph speed limit, according to a CHP report.
Avelino Sauri was driving his grey 2016 Toyota Corolla northbound on Palm Avenue, traveling through the same intersection just before Reynoso, going somewhere between 5 to 10 miles per hour.
According to the CHP report, Reynoso was determined to be at fault for the accident, for failing to yield the right-of-way to Sauri, traveling directly into his path as he made it through the intersection. The front of Sauri’s Corolla collided with the right-front of Reynoso’s vehicle. Reynoso’s vehicle continued to spin out of control after impact, and collided with a building located at the northeast corner of the intersection.
Damage to Sauri’s Corolla included a dislodged front bumper, shattered front grille and headlight assemblies, an inward and upward buckled hood, a buckled left fender, a right fender peeled to the rear, a shattered windshield, and a buckled roof.
Reynoso’s vehicle also sustained the following damages: a dented push bumper, broken front grille and right headlight assemblies, a buckled inward and upward hood, and the right fender and right door were buckled and peeled to the rear. The right front tire was also dislodged from it’s A-arm assembly.
Both Reynoso and Sauri were transported to Hemet Valley Hospital via ambulance shortly after the accident, while K9 Mac was transported to a local veterinarian. Neither party stayed long, nor succumbed to any serious injuries.
April 17 collision results in minor injuries – HPD cleared of fault
Hemet Police Officer Derek Maddox was involved in a traffic collision on April 17 at approximately 11:25 p.m. with another driver, Charles Brown, at 1400 S. State St. north of Chambers Street. Minor injuries resulted.
According to the CHP report, Brown’s blue 1967 Buick LeSabre was located on its wheels, facing in a southerly direction within the one vehicle lane of northbound State Street. Damage to the rear bumper, right rear tire and wheel, right side passenger door, right tail-light, trunk, right rear quarter panel, rear window, and right-side rear window were recorded.
Maddox’s 2013 black and white Ford Interceptor sustained damage to the front bumper, headlights, grille, front fender, rear window, and supplemental restraint systems.
Brown was determined to be at fault, for not yielding the right-of-way to approaching traffic at an undetermined speed in front of Maddox. Maddox tried to brake and attempted to swerve to the right. The left front of Maddox’s car hit the right rear of Brown’s Buick, which spun out of control as a result.
Hemet Police Chief Dave Brown, who very publicly announced on Facebook last week that he is retiring from the department and is considering a run for Riverside County Sheriff’s Department next year, was contacted for comment and stated he would do some research and get back to The Valley Chronicle. He declined to comment by press time.