An 80-year-old woman was killed and four other people were injured in a three-vehicle collision on Interstate 15 in Temecula involving a suspected drunken driver who left the scene and later surrendered, authorities said Friday.
The crash happened about 9:50 p.m. Thursday on northbound I-15 at Rancho California Road, which was shut down until 2:30 Friday morning, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Officer Mike Lassig said 36-year-old Jawed Ahmad Naweed of Menifee was driving a 2021 Mercedes-Benz AMG C63 sports car when he failed to negotiate a curve along the Rancho California on-ramp to enter the freeway. The Mercedes careened over the edge of the ramp and “prematurely entered the main traffic lanes of northbound I-15,” Lassig said.
“The vehicle entered the northbound lanes while traveling in a westerly direction,” he said. “The Mercedes veered across lanes and crossed directly in front of a 2016 Lexus (sedan) traveling in the No. 2 lane. The Lexus’ front end collided into the Mercedes. After the initial collision, the Lexus … collided into the concrete center divider wall.”
The backseat passenger in the Lexus, a Gardena woman whose name was withheld pending family notification, was killed on impact.
According to Lassig, the Mercedes continued out of control across lanes and was hit from behind by a 2013 GMC Acadia, after which all of the vehicles came to a stop, blocking northbound I-15.
Lassig alleged that Naweed bailed out of the Mercedes and jumped into a dark-colored SUV that had stopped near the crash scene. The vehicle then sped away. It was unclear whether the suspect knew the driver or obtained a ride from a good Samaritan intending to take him to a hospital.
Riverside County Fire Department personnel had to extricate the three occupants of the Lexus, including the woman who died. A 73-year-old man and 76-year-old woman from Gardena, neither of whom were publicly identified, were taken to Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar for treatment of moderate injuries.
The two occupants of the GMC Acadia, whose names were not released, also suffered moderate injuries and were taken to Temecula Valley Hospital for treatment.
Lassig said that as CHP officers were investigating the wreck, Naweed returned about 11:30 p.m. and surrendered.
He was treated at the scene for a minor injury and was booked into the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, DUI resulting in great bodily injury and hit-and-run causing great bodily injury or death, with bail set at $75,000.
Anyone with information about the collision was asked to call the CHP’s Temecula station at 951-506-2000.
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