Friends plead with man not to drive minutes before crash
■ Chronicle News Staff
Two people were killed in a head-on collision Saturday night on Ramona Expressway in which one of the drivers was thrown from the vehicle.
San Jacinto Police responded to the collision east of Vernon Avenue in which a Honda Civic was travelling westbound on Ramona Expressway and reportedly crossed the center line and into the path of an oncoming Nissan Maxima.
The two vehicles collided head-on, ejecting the driver of the Civic and seriously injuring all three occupants of the Maxima, who were taken to area hospitals. One of the passengers in the Nissan, a minor, later died from his injuries.
The Riverside County Coroner identified one of the deceased as Hemet resident Jeffrey Hoyt Herrmann, 52, the driver of the Civic, who reportedly was responsible for the crash.
The occupants of the Maxima reportedly were two twin brothers and their sister. While the San Bernardino County Coroner has not officially released the name of the second fatality due to his age, a gofundme.com page was set up for Tony Gomez, who, with his brother, Marcos, were apparently riding in the back seat of the Nissan Maxima driven by their older sister, Brianna, according to news reports.
Both Marcos and Brianna were seriously injured and remain hospitalized. At press time, more than 200 people had contributed more than $18,000 to the gofundme.com page (https://www.gofundme.com/memorial-for-tony-gomez) set up by the family of Tony Gomez to help with funeral and medical expenses.
Herrmann reportedly was drinking the night of the accident, according to friends who pleaded with him not to drive. At first he agreed, then later snuck out of the house and got behind the wheel without his friends’ knowledge, according to those close to the incident. The crash reportedly occurred only minutes after he got behind the wheel.
A Navy veteran, Herrmann reportedly suffered from PTSD and depression and had been drinking heavily in the days leading up to the deadly crash, friends said.
Jeffrey Herrmann’s demolished Honda Civic.
Herrmann enjoyed working with local Hemet Eye News gathering news in the Hemet and San Jacinto areas and was temporarily staying with one of the founders of the media agency.
According to the Riverside County Sheriff, three other vehicles were involved in the incident, though no major injuries were reported. Needless to say, alcohol is believed to be a factor in the accident, which is still under investigation.
The San Jacinto Police Department requests anyone having additional information regarding this incident to call Deputy Cox at the San Jacinto Police Department at (951) 487-7352.