First responders were kept busy with a pair of back-to-back traffic accidents in Murrieta this morning.
According to Sgt. Jim Gruwell with the Murrieta Police Department, officers responded at 7:23 a.m. today to the intersection of Hancock Avenue and Milkwood Lane after receiving reports that as many as seven vehicles may have been involved in an accident.
Upon arrival, officers discovered two separate accidents at the location involving a total of four vehicles, as well as several witness vehicles stopped at the scene.
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The incidents began when a white Toyota pickup truck traveling southbound on Hancock Avenue slammed into the back of a Ford Explorer SUV stopped at a signal light at Milkwood Lane, Gruwell said.
The SUV ended up on the opposite side of the road a few hundred feet south of the intersection and the Toyota pickup was disabled in the middle of the roadway.
Traffic began to back up along southbound Hancock Avenue immediately following the first accident, Gruwell said.
Within a few moments, a black Chrysler sedan slammed into the back of a landscaping trailer being towed by a Nissan pickup truck a few hundred feet north of the first accident, Gruwell said.
The driver of the Chrysler also appears to have taken their eyes off of the roadway and wasn’t paying attention, he added.
Multiple first responders converged on the scene, including one fire engine from the Murrieta Fire Department and two AMR ambulances.
As many as eight police cars and motorcycles responded with officers speaking with witnesses and vehicle occupants and directing traffic.
Debris from both accidents littered the roadway near the intersection, and multiple vehicles were lined up along the southbound side of Hancock Avenue in addition to the badly damaged Toyota pickup and Ford Explorer that were disabled near the intersection.
Gruwell said at least two people – one from each accident – were transported by ambulance to area hospitals. He added that their injuries were not believed to be life-threatening and that the transports were made following complaints of pain by each victim.
Lack of attention appears to have contributed to both accidents. The driver of the Toyota involved in the first accident told officers he had taken his eyes off of the road momentarily and did not see the SUV stopped in front of him, Gruwell said.
The driver of the sedan involved in the second accident is also believed to have not been paying attention to the roadway and did not see the stopped traffic from the first accident, he added.
Traffic in all four directions at the intersection was moving slowly past the scene as four tow trucks worked to clear the vehicles and debris from the roadway.
By 8:30 a.m., most of the roadway had been cleared, but many emergency vehicles remained at the scene.
Joe Fanaselle is a local photojournalist and regular contributor to SWRNN.