Six people were injured following a solo vehicle accident that snarled traffic Sunday in Murrieta.
The incident occurred shortly before 12:45 p.m. along the southbound lanes of Interstate 215 just north of Clinton Keith Road near the Linnel Road overcrossing.
According to Officer John Heckenkemper with the California Highway Patrol Temecula Office, a woman was driving a dark green Mercedes SUV southbound on Interstate 215 when for unknown reasons, she drifted into the center median and struck the concrete divider twice.
The SUV overturned at least two times and traveled between 600 and 700 feet before finally landing on its wheels, Heckenkemper said.
Fire and rescue crews from the Murrieta Fire Department and Cal Fire/ Riverside County Fire Department responded to the location, treating a total of six patients who were in the vehicle, Heckenkemper said.
A total of three fire engines, one ladder truck, one Battalion Chief and three ambulances were at the scene.
Firefighters could be seen using hydraulic extrication equipment to remove at least two occupants from the rear seat of the SUV.
According to radio traffic from the incident commander, at least one occupant sustained major injuries in the accident. A multi-casualty incident, or MCI, was declared by the incident commander shortly after rescue crews arrived due to the number of patients.
At least three people were transported to area hospitals by ambulance, radio chatter indicated.
The remaining victims declined transport to a hospital and were treated at the scene. All three had visible cuts and wounds.
Only one southbound lane was open to traffic moving past the incident as the wrecked SUV and emergency vehicles blocked the two left lanes.
Debris and contents from the vehicle could be seen scattered along the roadway for several hundred feet. Southbound traffic on Interstate 215 was brought to a crawl beginning well north of Newport Road, according to motorists passing the incident.
A Sig Alert was issued for the incident at 1:03 pm according to the California Highway Patrol website, although it wasn’t clear when the Sig Alert was lifted.
The vehicle was removed and lanes were reopened shortly before 1:45 pm.
Joe Fanaselle is a local photojournalist and regular contributor to SWRNN.