A motorist led California Highway Patrol officers on a high-speed chase on Interstate 10 before dying in a crash in Yucaipa today, prompting a closure of two westbound lanes that was expected to last into the afternoon.
Los Angeles-bound traffic was diverted to the two westbound lanes of Route 60, but that road has much less capacity than Interstate 10, leading to another potential weekend cork in traffic from the desert resort areas back to the Inland Empire and Los Angeles and Orange counties.
By 10:30 a.m., westbound I-10 traffic had backed up several miles, to the Cherry Valley Boulevard interchange, according to a witness.
The incident began at about 3 a.m. today when CHP officers monitoring the eastbound I-10 noticed a maroon Mitsubishi Eclipse traveling at a speed in excess of 100 miles per hour, said CHP Officer Darren Meyer.
Officers moved in and attempted to stop the Mitsubishi, and the driver pulled to the right shoulder and stopped. But as the officers walked up to the car, the driver accelerated eastbound on I-10, Meyer said.
The officers followed as the Mitsubishi left the freeway on Sixth Street and re-entered the freeway heading west, Meyer said.
“As officers continued to pursue the suspect at a high rate of speed, the right rear tire of the Mitsubishi failed,” Meyer said. “Approximately one-quarter mile west of County Line Road, the driver lost control and the vehicle overturned in the dirt center median, partially ejecting the driver.
“CHP officers tried to render aid, but they found that the driver was killed instantly.”
The incident closed two of the three westbound lanes at the Riverside-San Bernardino county line for the investigation.
“The lanes are not projected to open until this afternoon, and motorists are encouraged to used westbound state Route 60 as an alternative,”
The driver’s name and hometown had not been determined, and no CHP officers were hurt, he said.