Parts of Southern California are notorious for bad traffic. Unfortunately, this also means that these places see a lot of crashes.
On Tuesday, June 4th, the 15 Freeway in Temecula shut down for hours after a multi-car crash occurred. A total of six vehicles got caught in a high-speed chain reaction around 7:30 a.m. A 2011 Chevrolet Silverado slammed into a 2015 Nissan Altima at high speed, reportedly moving at around 100 mph. Then, the Altima collided into a 2015 Chevy Tahoe, a 2017 Tesla Model S, a Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck, and a 2017 Toyota Camry. The pickup was sent veering and crashed into the side of the Temecula City Hall parking structure just off the freeway.
In the aftermath, the Altima was left unrecognizable and the driver was reported to have died at the scene. Police identified the driver as Janet Genao of Murrieta. In addition, the accident caused two major injuries and two minor injuries for the other drivers.
The driver who started the chain reaction was identified as Javier Caldera of Auburn, Washington. In the video footage, Caldera can be seen driving at full-speed on the freeway during slow traffic before impact. After his vehicle ended up by the median, he apparently tried to escape until he collapsed onto the grass.
Since the crash, Caldera has been charged with second-degree murder and driving under the influence of drugs. According to the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, Caldera possibly faces life in prison if convicted of the charges filed.
Bail was originally set at $1 million dollars, but the judge revoked bail after further consideration. Prosecution had found out that Caldera had a previous DUI conviction in Washington and a felony attempt to elude. In addition, the prosecutors asked to reschedule the arraignment. They argued that Caldera was a danger to the community as well as a flight risk.
The arraignment is currently scheduled for June 18th.