UPDATE: Coroner Identifies Pedestrian Killed On 15 Freeway

Joshua Eugene Epling, 21, was struck multiple times approximately 1.47 miles south of the Railroad Canyon Road/Diamond Drive exit.

The pedestrian who was struck and killed on the northbound 15 Freeway near the Lake Elsinore-Wildomar boundary this morning has been identified.

Lake Elsinore resident Joshua Eugene Epling, 21, was struck multiple times approximately 1.47 miles south of the Railroad Canyon Road/Diamond Drive exit, according to the Riverside County Coroner’s Office.

He was struck at 3:21 a.m. and pronounced dead at 3:31 a.m., according to the coroner’s office.

Vontrice Charles, a 31-year-old female motorist from Perris driving a burgundy Toyota Scion tried to avoid the victim, but struck him as he ran across the freeway in an easterly direction, the CHP reported. She was traveling approximately 65-70 mph, the CHP reported, and her vehicle sustained major damage. She was not driving under the influence, according to CHP.

It is unclear why Epling, who was carrying a Nintendo Wii and a case of beer, was running across the freeway. According to CHP, Epling's mother said he was possibly shopping at Walmart in Lake Elsinore around midnight.

Epling may have been under the influence of alcohol, according to CHP.

He was struck while in the number three lane and was thrown onto the number two and one lanes, according to CHP.

With the exception of Charles, none of the other motorists who subsequently hit Epling stopped, according to the CHP.

Debris and body parts were strewn across the busy interstate.

The CHP is asking motorists who struck the victim come forward and is advising that they may have biohazardous material on their vehicles.

The fatality closed down the northbound 15 Freeway for nearly seven hours. Traffic was rerouted onto the Bundy Canyon Road exit and electronic signs on the 15 Freeway as far south as Rainbow were advising motorists of the closure. Travelers were being asked to avoid the northbound 15 through the Temecula and Elsinore valleys.

Shortly after 10 a.m., the CHP advised that body parts had been removed from the freeway and there was no biohazard remaining. The freeway was reopened at 10:10 a.m.

Traffic remains backed up through the Temecula and Elsinore valleys, CHP is reporting.

Anyone who may have hit the victim, or anyone with further information, is asked to call the CHP at 951-506-2000.

"G" November 27, 2011 at 02:07 AM
Thank you CG, what a great memory to share.
Dede November 27, 2011 at 03:14 AM
Dede, I totally agree with Brenda. I also was stuck in the closure and was very upset and could not understand why we were not being let by at least a little at a time. Now that I know the situation (or if I would of known the situation then) I would of completely understood why we were not going anywhere. I think if someone would of given us a clue what was going on you would of had a lot more sympathy and under standing from every one. I had not read it here I would never known why. I do feel for the family and friends who have lost a love one. But it is what it is!
pam November 27, 2011 at 03:26 AM
Poor judgement on lunchbox's part. He ruined a lot of peoples lives doing what he did... The poor woman who hit him will live with that memory forever. My condolences to her.
sam November 27, 2011 at 05:01 AM
Josh was a great person loving caring helpful his laugh an smile was enough to make you smile or laugh. He was to young to die He was always there when ever I needed help if he could help he would . Miss you so much Josh the girls Miss you too we will meet again until then rest in paradise my friend love ya xoxo
Curious November 27, 2011 at 07:12 AM
Anybody that is stupid enough to walk in a lane of traffic on a dark freeway is stupid. And body parts is the reality of pedestrians getting hit. Get over it. I commend the reporter for reporting the actual facts and why the freeway was closed for so long. Probably for the bio-hazard clean up.
Jodi November 27, 2011 at 08:47 AM
lunchbox, it is my prayer that you rest in peace. To everyone about the news report and pictures, it is disrespectful and rude to josh, his family and those who loved him, and just because were all his friends doesn't mean we knew what he was doing at every moment of the day and night, yes he shouldn't have been on the freeway, but he was, and we can't take that back, so please if you have something negative to say keep it to yourself, so we may mourn the passing of our loved one.
Brittanni Hartman November 28, 2011 at 01:17 AM
some of you should be highly ashamed of yourselves did you know him? did u see him steal anything or did that dumb reporter or the CHP actully see him drink?? how can they even say that and just cause he may not have done the smartest thing desnt make him a stupid or bad person EVAN nobody asked for your negative input did u now him? DOUBT IT and pam who are you to say that your condolences to her?? HES DEAD SHES ALIVE you oughta be ashamed of your sell Toni McAllister you are a VERY sic women and an awful unprofessinal heartless women and reporter flip the script what if it was u would u want the world to see your shoes and debris scattered on the freeway?? and BODY PARTS? was that really necessary LIKE WAS IT??? I THINK NOT I BET HIS PARENTS,FAMILY AND FRIENDS JUST LOVED READING AND SEEING THAT NEXT TIME RETHINK WHAT YOU WRITE HAVE A HEART. BIO HAZARD REALLY DUDE?!?! F HER CAR HIS LIFE WAS TAKEN FROM HIM AND U SAY IT LIKE HE WAS A DISEASED ANIMAL HE WAS A HUMAN BEING OMG TONI U NEED TO BE SMACKED AND FIRED UR A HORRIBLE WOMEN NOBODY NEED THE NEGATIVE COMMENTS THIS IS A TIME FOR GRIEF AND MOURNING SO ENOUGH WITH THE NEGATIVE IF U HAVE ANYTHING NEGATIVE TO SAY U BETTER RETHINK WHAT UR GONNA SAY AND BOUNCE SERIOUSLY GET OUTTA HERE WITH THAT BS U DIDN'T KNOW WHAT HE WAS ABOUT R.I.P JOSH
Curious November 28, 2011 at 02:30 AM
"EVAN nobody asked for your negative input" @Brittanni: Did anybody ask for your input? Does it matter I knew the idiot walking on a dark freeway lane? Does that change things?
Donna November 28, 2011 at 03:36 AM
I feel bad that he got killed but he shouldnt of been trying to use the freeway for a short cut to get where he was going. I do feel bad for the one person who did pull over after hitting him as others never did Its not like she hit him on purpose. I had something happen to me in the 70's waiting to get gas when we were going through gas shrotages and my car lunged forward and pin the man.. I was in shock that this happened and it took a very long time to get over it and to this day think about it.. She didnt see him it was dark and he was crossing were he shouldnt have.. She will be scared for life.. I hope she gets through this..
Mr. Lada November 28, 2011 at 04:23 AM
I hate gas shrotages and that lunging that you experienced Donna... I really feel your pain! I too hope she gets through this.
Heather Newman November 28, 2011 at 05:41 AM
Wow, people are crazy! First I am so sorry for the family of this young man who TRAGICALLY lost his life. Whether or not he used good judgement makes no difference to his family and friends who must be completely heartbroken to lose him so young. Second, I feel for the poor woman who was humane enough to stop and do the right thing, I pray that she doesn't blame herself, it was an ACCIDENT!!! Finally, whether or not the reporting and pictures contain something I am not comfortable reading or viewing, it DOES contain a factual and correct report. Please do the world a favor and offer up a few prayers for those involved. They sure will appreciate it.
Colleen Gibson November 28, 2011 at 05:48 AM
Can we please stop arguing on here!?!?! Lunch box always disliked the internet. LOL this would be pointless to him. He knows how we feel and, we don't have to explain it to others. Damn i miss him more and more :( and now that i have commented on this it emails me everytime. :( how do i get it to stop?
Mr. Lada November 28, 2011 at 06:10 AM
Colleen, UNclick the checkbox right below this comment that says "send me email updates for this article" . Before you go - can you tell us why he was called 'lunchbox"?
Colleen Gibson November 28, 2011 at 06:25 AM
Because when he turned 14 our friend Kristen gave him a lunch box for his birthday, then his mom thought it was his girlfriend. It was funny so it stuck
Colleen Gibson November 28, 2011 at 06:25 AM
she was his gf not the lunchbox lol
Colleen Gibson November 28, 2011 at 06:26 AM
there is no button
Brandy Robison November 28, 2011 at 04:24 PM
Sad, tragic story. Josh made a bad jusgement and now we have to live with that. I don't think fighting and arguing is doing any good. Leta remember the glod memories. I am okay with hkw the reporter wrote the story. It would have been hard to read if that was my situation but atleast we know the facts ans can try to prevent this from happening again. R.I.P Josh. You will never be forgotten.
Brandy Robison November 28, 2011 at 04:25 PM
Sorry about spelling I am on my phone
Laurie Graham November 28, 2011 at 06:11 PM
Thanks to those of you for the prayers and kind words. Josh was a good kid. Josh was loved by his family and friends. Please keep your prayers and thoughts towards those who are now left with a hole in their hearts. And please pray for the motorist involved in this tragic accident. RIP Josh!! We Love you!! Aunt Laurie
Joe November 28, 2011 at 09:59 PM
Not 100 % sure but we think we seen this kid trying to sell his wii outside the walmart but anyway its very sad and i love my son and i read him the story and was very clear about the details so it would stick in his thoughts. Maybe the details should always be harsh and we would have less of these types of avoidable accidents. And yes i feel bad for the lady too who hit him and the people who hit him and knew it are sick in their head. I didnt know u josh but im sure u were an ok kid and im sorry for your family and friends
Roberto November 28, 2011 at 10:57 PM
Not much can be said...prayer and codolences for the family. Kid's (yes 21 year old many are still kid's) make mistakes, this is very sad.
Curious November 28, 2011 at 11:25 PM
It borderlines as suicide, but i guess that is tragic.
Roberto November 29, 2011 at 01:35 AM
No, it wasn't or even borderlines suicide. It was a error in judgment and Monday morning quarterbacking does nothing. Tragic yes and condolences and prayers to the family.
THE REAL Anita Drink November 29, 2011 at 02:33 AM
More like Russian Roulette. In the original article someone wrote that he and his friends had been running across this portion of the freeway for years. Finally one of them got the bullet.
Marie November 29, 2011 at 04:33 AM
Sooo sad its so messed up that a life is lost and people are so hateful and negative. Just let the man RIP and may his family find some way to reach a little peace.
J Carabine November 29, 2011 at 07:20 AM
I totally agree ;( :( sigh.. condolences to the family.
PrayerGirl November 29, 2011 at 05:07 PM
Let God be the Judge - for he WILL judge you in return... Family and Friends - Here is a prayer for you... "Lord our God, You are always faithful and quick to show mercy. Josh was suddenly and violently taken from his family and friends. Come swiftly to his aid, have mercy on him, and comfort his family and friends by the power and protection of the cross. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen." I didn't personally know Josh, but threw Christ, he is my brother. My prayers go to all of you close to Josh - may you be able to find peace and comfort knowing he is with our Father in Heaven. Im so sorry for you loss.
sara November 29, 2011 at 05:17 PM
PrayerGirl, That was beautiful . Let's all stop and blame and should have's, could have's. Let's all offer a prayer for Josh and his family which is what they need at this difficult time.
susie-Q December 04, 2011 at 05:06 PM
Dion December 18, 2011 at 08:07 PM
I appreciate the candir of Tony's report as it's simply the facts of a very tragic and unnecessary event. The reason I read the news is to gain more knowledge of these specific details so I'm fully aware of the reality we live in. Let's not get upset with the report as a way to express our frustration with this tragedy but instead do what we can to prevent others like this from happening to our family, friends, love ones, and all mankind by sharing the principals of the love of Jesus. God freely gives wisdom when we ask Him for it. Josh didn't exercise this right and as a result his death serves as a lesson to others who would have made similar choices. Let's not hide the reality of the horrific nature of what took place, not saying /writting it doesn't mean it didn't happen. Trust God people....its really the only sane decision we can make in this crazy mixed up world.


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