■ John Strangis / Contributed
Hemet firefighters extracted three injured but trapped motorists from two vehicles in under 15 minutes following a head-on collision early last week at the intersection of State Street and Domenigoni Parkway.
Hemet FD Battalion Chief Kevin Kuhlman noted the efficiency that firefighters displayed at the chaotic scene as first responders swarmed over the crash site where a Volvo station wagon and a Ford Taurus were virtually destroyed. Following numerous 911 calls from passersby, police, sheriff, firefighters and ambulances from different directions and agencies descended on the scene.
Police are investigating the cause of the crash that happened Monday night, Sept. 17, shortly before 11 p.m. and haven’t indicated whether alcohol or drugs might have been a factor.
While all three victims survived the crash, observers noted that, based on the conditions of the vehicles, it’s fortunate no one was killed in what authorities are labeling a major accident. All three were transported by AMR ambulances to local trauma centers where they were reported recovering from injuries that ranged from minor to severe.
When rescuers arrived at the scene of the 10:40 p.m. crash they found two people trapped in a dark-colored Volvo station wagon and a lone driver inside the gray Ford Taurus sedan. Firemen had to use the Jaws of Life to free the occupants from their crushed vehicles, an operation that before the tool was available, saw drivers die in their seats because they simply couldn’t be freed. Last week’s crash and the speed that first responders were able to extract the occupants is a testament to the skill of today’s firefighters and the technology available in the Jaws of Life tool.
How the crash happened and who was at fault is under investigation, but police found both vehicles in the dirt median along Domenigoni just west of State Street. Domenigoni has been the scene of several head-on collisions of late in spite of a fairly wide median strip that separates the opposing lanes of traffic.