Mecca Man Arrested For Fatal Collision

City News Service

RIVERSIDE (CNS) – A 55-year-old suspected drunken driver who allegedly
ran over and killed a woman trying to help an injured burro just north of
Moreno Valley was being held today on $1 million bail.

Martin Joel Ramirez Hernandez of Mecca was arrested and booked into
the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside Wednesday on suspicion of second-degree
murder, driving on a suspended license and driving under the influence
resulting in great bodily injury.

Hernandez had been hospitalized for several weeks following the wreck
last month, and during that time, Riverside County sheriff’s investigators
gathered sufficient evidence to obtain an arrest warrant for the suspect, who
has multiple unresolved DUI cases pending in Superior Court.

According to sheriff’s Sgt. Robert Grmusha, the deadly crash happened
about 11:20 p.m. on Dec. 15 along Redlands Boulevard, just north of Ironwood
Avenue, in an area known as Big Horn Canyon.

Grmusha said that the chain wreck began when a 2013 Toyota Corolla hit
a wild donkey crossing the two-lane corridor, mortally injuring the animal,
which was left lying in lanes.

“The driver of the Toyota moved his vehicle from the roadway and was
in the process of calling for assistance when the driver a 2007 Chevy Trail
Blazer (stopped and) angled her vehicle in front of the burro in an apparent
attempt to prevent a secondary collision,” the sergeant said.

The concerned motorist, 52-year-old Jacqueline Morgan of Moreno
Valley, exited her Chevy “and was standing near the driver’s side door when
she was struck” by a 2007 Nissan Altima driven by Hernandez, according to
Grmusha.

“Upon impact, the Nissan pushed the Chevy into the parked Toyota,
then careened across the roadway, where it overturned in a nearby drainage
ditch,” he said.

Morgan was found severely injured on the road and taken to Riverside
University Medical Center. She succumbed to her injuries four days later.

Hernandez suffered major injuries, none of which were life-
threatening, and was taken to the same hospital for treatment, eventually
recovering.

The Toyota driver, whose identity was not released, was not hurt,
Grmusha said.

According to court records, Hernandez has three DUI cases, all in the
Coachella Valley, going back a decade that have not been disposed. He was
slated to appear for a hearing on them next month.

Copyright 2022, City News Service, Inc.

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