Three motorists were injured, one seriously, in a multi-vehicle collision Wednesday on the Ortega (74) Highway, just west of Lake Elsinore, that forced the temporary closure of the two-lane corridor.
The crash occurred about 4:30 a.m. in the area of the Morrill Canyon bridge, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Officer Mike Lassig said 22-year-old Katie Gedeln of Murrieta was eastbound in her Buick Regal at roughly 55 mph when the four-door sedan drifted across the double yellow lines — into the opposing traffic lane — and plowed head-on into a 2015 Nissan Versa driven by 47-year-old David Perez of Perris.
“The force of the impact caused the (Nissan) to travel off the roadway and up an embankment on the north side of the 74,” Lassig said. “The Buick came to rest blocking the east- and westbound traffic lanes.”
Maria Soto, 55, of Lake Elsinore rounded a blind curve at the location in her 2014 Dodge Dart, smashing into the Buick and causing the Dodge to spin off the highway and overturn close to where the Nissan came to rest, according to Lassig.
He said both sides of the highway were blocked as Riverside County Fire Department personnel and CHP officers staged at the location.
Gedeln, Soto and Perez were transported to Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar for treatment. Gedeln suffered extensive injuries to her face and lower extremities, while the other two motorists suffered unspecified minor to moderate injuries, according to Lassig.
The highway was partially re-opened at 6 a.m. and fully opened by 7:20 a.m., Lassig said.
— City News Service
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