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FATAL CRASH: One Lane Reopens On Railroad Canyon Road

The fatal crash was reported to Cal Fire at 10:18 a.m. Friday on Railroad Canyon Road, east of Grape Street, between Church and Canyon Hills roads.

The crash victim has been identified.

UPDATED Aug. 17 at 4 p.m.: One lane of traffic on westbound Railroad Canyon Road in Lake Elsinore has reopened as of 4 p.m. Friday, but the rest of the street is expected to remain closed until later today due to a fatal crash that killed one.

"Investigators are wrapping it up," said Dep. Albert Martinez of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

A daylong full closure of the westbound road has been in effect due the fatal crash that was reported to Cal Fire at 10:18 a.m. Friday on Railroad Canyon Road, east of Grape Street, between Church and Canyon Hills roads.

The crash was a solo-vehicle rollover. The vehicle went down the embankment on the north side of Railroad Canyon Road.

"The driver of a 2006 grey Buick was traveling west on Railroad Canyon Road, lost control of the vehicle onto the soft dirt shoulder, close to a 30-foot drop," said Sgt. Peter Giannakakos of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. "The driver’s efforts to correct the vehicle back onto the road were unsuccessful."

The car plummeted about 30 feet down a steep slope, coming to rest in a wooded ravine, Giannakakos explained. The driver, whose name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin, was pronounced dead at the scene.

No other injuries have been reported due to the crash.

Sgt. David Cardoza of the Riverside County Sheriff's Department was working the crash scene today and said the wreckage has been very difficult to access.

"It's hard to even see the vehicle," he said, noting that no first responders have been injured.

Traffic throughout Canyon Lake and eastern Lake Elsinore has been heavily congested throughout the day. The affected schools include: Temescal Canyon High School, Canyon Lake Middle School, Tuscany Hills Elementary and Cottonwood Canyon Elementary. These schools serve students who live in Canyon Lake, Canyon Estates, Tuscany Hills, and surrounding areas.

More details to follow.

Michael August 17, 2012 at 09:27 PM
Plus there is a loss of a lane so people drive even faster to get ahead or to stay ahead of other drives. It is a road I try to stay away from.
Mark August 17, 2012 at 09:30 PM
Got a phone call from my son's school about this road closure.
joni clemens August 17, 2012 at 09:32 PM
Prayers to The Family Regardless of How They Died There Family Memeber is Gone
Mysti August 17, 2012 at 09:36 PM
I agree as well. I travel that rd to and from work every day always hauling kids to school with me. We saw the last accident resulting in a death and it made my heart drop. My oldest son just turned 16 and thats one of the main reasons he still doesnt have a license. People dont realize how dangerous that rd is. I think the police worry too much about speeding cars in the construction areas that the more dangerous part of the rd is severely neglected.
joni clemens August 17, 2012 at 09:38 PM
Well said,,,, MYSTI
Ken Mayes August 17, 2012 at 09:52 PM
The only thing guardrails will do on this stretch of road is keep the carnage on the roadway. The so called ditch is properly known as the San Jacinto River.
Jardona August 17, 2012 at 10:05 PM
I think if the people in Canyon Hill get together and start a petition then maybe something will get done. That is sad about the man that died. I was wondering what was going on when I came outside trying to get to Walmart. Yes something needs to be done. I saw a website online that I used before to start a petition but the problem is getting people to sign it.
pecas August 17, 2012 at 11:15 PM
People speed down that hill all the time, speed limit is 50!, people slow down and stop speeding and tail gaiting people that follow the speedlimit! Prayers to the family...
Blaine Bett August 17, 2012 at 11:42 PM
We dont need a guardrail, we just need to slow down. Mistakes of the few shouldnt become the expense of the many.
Toni McAllister (Editor) August 17, 2012 at 11:45 PM
Regarding Mark's question below about guard rails, talk to your city council members and let them know your concerns. You can find their contact info on the city's website. The public is also invited and encouraged to address concerns during city council meetings (times and dates are posted on the city's website). If you believe strongly in the issue, get some support from the community and don't let up on elected officials.
Mr.Pipe August 17, 2012 at 11:52 PM
LE Mom August 18, 2012 at 12:01 AM
It makes me sad that so many people are ASSuming that the person who lost their life in an ACCIDENT was speeding. I had read earlier that a witness had stated that the driver had been driving the speed limit suddenly accelerated and veered over 2 lanes before going over the embankment. How do any of you know that there wasn't a medical or mechanical issue that caused him to loose control? Regardless if he was speeding or driving irradically, someone lost a son, brother, possibly a father, and a friend. Have some compassion for the family. No doubt speeding is an issue on this road but, before you stand on your soap box maybe you should find out the facts first. This article wasn't about the speeding problem. It was about someone loosing their life in an accident.
Shawn Neathan Caro August 18, 2012 at 12:13 AM
i agree with LE Mom because i witnessed the crash from start to end. and the person was not speeding. it was just a sudden. the person lost control of the vehicle and ended up dieing. yes we all do need to slow down but how many actually slow down none. the slow down and want to do something about it as someone dies. you should do it before or better yet always. forget petitions and guard rails. the way the car went over it would have went right over the guard rail. and a petition wont do anything it will only bring the speed limit down. we all just need to drive safe and prevent something like this happening. My Regards to the Family.
Larry DeSantis August 18, 2012 at 12:14 AM
....like many things in this area, that road demonstrates the lack of planning in this entire region. I have lived here for one year....this first time I traveled that road I asked my friend how many people have been killed on this? Talk about an accident waiting to happen.................
Brian Karczewski August 18, 2012 at 01:05 AM
Just drove by and the right lane was being opened. Traffic was pretty light. Wanted to add to the discussion as well, last year there were patrols between Canyon Hills and Grape St. A motorcycle cop would hide just off the road and in the fire station parking lot to catch speeders. Haven't seen anything like that this year. Lots of speeding, erratic lane changing and just flat lack of respect for the road and other drivers.
Teller of Truth August 18, 2012 at 01:13 AM
I'm just sorry that there seems to be "just a flat lack of respect" for this poor man that lost his life today! I'm kind of embarrassed for some of my so called fellow community members. To this mans family & friends, my heartfelt condolences on the loss of your loved ones. I hope he can find some peace in his eternal rest.
Diana August 18, 2012 at 01:34 AM
ToT: You are so right, my condolences to this persons family as well, I am so sorry for your life and this tragic accident. May God bless you and your loved ones.
Skybox August 18, 2012 at 03:59 AM
The poor guy was 81 years old. Really sad! All the comments about speeding down the hill could be true. He could have been startled and lost control. I agree.... Police officers, especially the mean motorcycle cop, need to focus on the hill not the construction zone. May this man RIP.
Corrie Tutt August 18, 2012 at 06:33 AM
My Heart Breaks For the Family and Friends~ Now is NOT a time to judge speed or driving etc...the loved ones don't need assumptions or judgement~ I do agree with correcting the road etc...but someone has entered an amazing eternity...and those left behind are heart broken in the present moment. Prayers and Love to all~<3~
Annie T August 18, 2012 at 03:03 PM
Anytime anyone dies in a car accident it is so traggic and sad. Im just wondering why it takes so many police, detectives, etc so long to investigate an accident.
Annie T August 18, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Also, job well done by LEUSD bussing department. Calls went out early to invite parents to come pick up their kids if they didnt want their kids waiting at schools for busses. Some busses did not arrive at schools until 4 and schools answered many phone calls from worried parents. All students arrived home late but safely. Hats off to patient and kind school staff and transportation
RB August 18, 2012 at 03:17 PM
The Motorcycle cop is still there. I see him pulling people over every day. Its not just about the speeding but also defensive and attentive driving. If driving, just drive. Don't be on the phone, texting, or making sure you're looking good.
RB August 18, 2012 at 03:22 PM
My prayers for the victim and his family.
Paul August 18, 2012 at 06:05 PM
Sounds like the man was passing out, or having a heart attack. Maybe he felt blackness or something comming on and was trying to get to the side of the road before he lost conciousness. Or maybe it was the heat and his A/C was not working. Or maybe he was trying to apply his brakes and his foot went accidently on the gas pedal. That seems to happen more to older folks. Or maybe there was a mechanical failure. In many cars there is only a steel spring (like a short screen door spring) that pulls the throttle back to idling. If the spring breaks while drivers foot is on the pedal the engine will immediately speed up the car Or there could be some other mechanical/electrical failures that could lead to sudden unwanted accelleration. Some cars were recalled for repair of sudden unexplained acceleration., but it could have been missed. ---------------- Of course I am sorry for the death too. I think like an engineer and have done most of my own car repairs for many years so I try to understand how things happen. I suggest if you buy a used car write down the VIN and go to a new car dealer repair department for that kind of car and ask them to check for recalls. I have done that several times and one time they replaced the power brake motor for me free. OR even if you had the car for years, but maybe had an actual change of address from the DMV address on file so that you missed a mailed recall notice you might want to have them check for recalls.
Paul August 18, 2012 at 07:09 PM
I do not know the official answer. But it is a fact that whenever there is a death, or a likely emminent death of a person taken away in an ambulance the authorities do close the road and do a very thorough examination of the roadway and positions of the vehicles involved. And obtain statements from all the witnessess that are available. I remember they they did NOT used to be so careful or close the roads for as long. Years ago a VW Beatle car was passing me on a wet four lane mountain road and went into a spin right outside my window. After it stopped spinning I could see the driver's relieved expresion, Whew! And just them a large car came around the curve at 50 mph and knocked it maybe 5 feet upward into the air, killing the driver instantly. There was one CHP man came and took witness statements, and tow trucks took the cars away quickly. I think I remember a news item about a lawsuit against the CHP in a multiple death accident, years after the accident I saw, maybe on I-5 in northern CA. maybe 20 or 30 years ago where the scene was cleared too soon and the evidence of who was to blame could not be determined later so they sued Cal-Trans for a large amount of money and won. But also to improve hiway, vehicle and driver safety Logically they would want to be sure they know all the reasons, that it was or was not hit by another car, nor cut off, did or did not hit road debris, or potholes, determine the speed it was going if possible and things like that.
Paul August 18, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Sometimes the agency responsible for a road gets sued. There was a section of I-5 in Northern Ca where the posted speed limit was 65 mph. One CHP or Cal trans person insisted there were too many accidents on the curves. She was fired or demoted because if they lowered the limit to 55 then Cal Trans would likely be considered liable for several serious accidents that had occurred there. It took several years but the employee sued and got reinstated or got a good settlement and the speed limit was reduced. This may have been 15 to 25 years ago.
Geoff Murphy August 19, 2012 at 04:37 PM
I live in Canyon Hills. This area will continue to grow. With the added development in west Menifee (e.g. Audie Murphy Ranch), there will be added traffic to RR Cyn. In Canyon Hills, one may enter or exit either through RR Cyn or Canyon Hills Road/Holland Road. Canyon Hills Road becomes Holland Road as it leaves the City of Lake Elsinore and enters Menifee. Holland Road at this point is a 2 lane bumpy dirt road. The residents of Canyon Hills in Lake Elsinore (and probably Audie Murphy Ranch in Menifee) will need additional road development to offset future traffic which will significantly increase. Until the city fathers of Lake Elsinore, Menifee, Wildomar and Canyon Lake coalesce to promote this development, we can look forward to more fatalities and collisions on the existing traffic infrastructure...and RR Cyn in particular.
Alyse August 21, 2012 at 07:18 PM
First of all this is my grandfather, he was a recent cancer survivor, 81 years old man, and in no hurry to get from point A to point B. For people who sent the condolences in comments it's appreciated. I do not live there nor know much detail but from what I read I hope in his sake he suffered a medical condition and passed before that lunge he plummeted to. Rest in peace Grandpa, your in my thoughts, along with Grandma Janet. I hope she handles this shock that was brought to her Friday. <3
Natalie and Armand Vasquez August 21, 2012 at 07:53 PM
My deepest condolences to you, Alyse, and your Grandma Janet. We met them recently through our neighbors, as I am a cancer survivor and your Grandpa sent me an e-mail with a vitamin he was taking. He even bought us dinner one evening even though we were a last minute tag alongs, he insisted. He was a very generous man with a huge heart. Even as tough as this is, you know God called him home, it is just hard on those he left behind as he will be sorely missed!
Alyse August 22, 2012 at 03:22 AM
Thanks Natalie and Armand, he was a nice and generous man with a huge heart. We live in Michigan i have only met them once in my life, but we kept contact with cards, facebook, and telephone call every now and again. I am glad you got to meet him, they are truely nice people. If you see my Grandma during this time, be sure to give her a big hug for me!


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