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.

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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