UPDATE: Authorities have identified driver of mini van killed in Menifee accident as Roland Seneff, 69, of Hemet, according to the Riverside County coroner’s office.
LAST VERSION: One person died and at least 10 others were injured this afternoon when a van collided with several cars at a freeway exit ramp in Menifee.
The crash was reported around 1:45 p.m. on Newport Road, near the off- ramp from northbound Interstate 215.
The preliminary investigation revealed that a Hyundai was traveling northbound on the I-215 freeway and had exited the Newport Road freeway offramp, said Sgt. Dan Lingo. The vehicle drove through the intersection and struck the center divider of Newport Road, Lingo said, causing the vehicle to become airborne where it collided with a Mazda van in the number one westbound lane of Newport Road.
Five passengers from the two involved vehicles were transported to local hospitals. The driver of the Mazda van was pronounced dead, Lingo said. The identity of the driver and passengers is being withheld pending notification of next of kin.
The accident and blocked roadways created traffic nightmares for drivers, causing vehicles to back up on I-215 for miles to Ethanac Road and along Newport Road approaching the overpass. Local residential streets were also impacted.
Sheriff’s deputies closed access to Newport Road in both directions. The location is a major freeway interchange that abuts the Menifee Town Center shopping mall.
A number of frustrated motorists trying to exit or get onto the 215 were being cited by deputies for driving around traffic barriers.
This investigation is ongoing and the Department is asking anyone with information regarding this incident to call the Menifee Police Department Traffic Division at 951- 210-1000.