Sunday afternoon, a car acc!dent on Interstate 10 in Riverside County claimed the lives of a woman, 31, and her two young daughters. The acc!dent also injured six other members of the household.
The incident occurred at 7:30 in the morning in Whitewater, a village about 15 minutes north-northwest of Palm Springs. The California Highway Patrol arrived on the site after other drivers and Good Samaritans had tried to assist the victims on the eastbound 10 Freeway near Haugen-Lehmann Way.
“When I got into that one lane, I looked ahead of me and there was this kid in the fourth lane flailing around on the ground, and people were just driving around him,” Dr. Timothy Jochen told KTLA. The dermatologist says he will never forget the scene he saw after the f@tal cr@sh.
“So, I stopped, parked in the median, got out of my car and ran up to the kid,” Jochen said. “I may not be the best person there. I’m not an ER physician, but I’m going to be a heck of a lot better than someone who has no training at all. And if you can just be there, hold pressure, and do things you know what to do, it’s better than nobody being there.”
The California Highway Patrol reports that a collision between a Tesla and an earlier model Chevrolet Suburban resulted in the Suburban crashing into the median and flipping over. Six of the vehicle’s occupants were thrown from it.
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Their mother, Anaheim resident Cecilia Villalobos, 31, and daughters, ages 8 and 11, perished in the tragedy. Major injuries were sustained by four additional occupants in the Suburban. Another anonymous Good Samaritan, an ICU nurse, rushed to the help of a child of 11 who had fallen out of the Suburban. Juan Coronel’s wife saw the aftermath of the cr@sh with him.
“She’s like, ‘There are no paramedics, there’s nobody here yet,’ and she’s like, ‘Pull over.’ I pull over and she just ran off,” Coronel told KTLA. While authorities did confirm that all of the Suburban’s occupants “were relatives and residents of Anaheim,” preliminary data indicated that not all of them were using “safety restraint systems or seatbelts.”
“In the red Suburban, there were nine people in an eight-passenger Suburban,” CHP Officer Jason Montez added. Two of the family’s other children are reportedly in critical condition at Loma Linda University Medical Center’s pediatrics section.
Two of the family's other children are being treated at Loma Linda Medical Center where both are reported to be in serious condition. https://t.co/qyQo26cffu
— KTLA (@KTLA) May 16, 2023
After receiving contradicting statements from the two drivers who made it out of the incident alive, the CHP is now trying to determine who was at fault. Dr. Jochen found the whole thing to be bizarre, and he hopes that by sharing his story others would be inspired to help others whenever they can.
“Even people that can just stop and keep cars from running over this kid is helpful,” he said. “I think it was disappointing to see the number of people that just kept driving around.”
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