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Man Blamed in 15 Freeway Pileup Claims He Was Chased By Zombies

"He was arrested at the crash scene and appeared to be in an altered state, claiming he was being chased by zombies," CHP Officer Nathan Baer.

Monday afternoon it was announced by the California Highway Patrol that the 19-year-old man from Tennessee faulted for triggering multiple crashes on the 15 Freeway in Temecula over the weekend claimed he was being chased by zombies.

Jerimiah Hartline is suspected of stealing a 2007 Freightliner three-axle tractor truck from the I-15 Rainbow Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Facility on Saturday evening, just moments before he triggered a series of crashes on the busy interstate, according to CHP Officer Nathan Baer. (Click here for an April 10 update on how police think he stole the big rig.)

"He was arrested at the crash scene and appeared to be in an altered state, claiming he was being chased by zombies," Baer said.

"It appears he was the driver," Baer said, explaining that earlier reports of a second man making a getaway in a white van now appear to be false.

According to Baer, the driver of a white van did stop to assist during the crash. Hartline allegedly tried to get into the van in an apparent attempt to flee the scene, but the driver "threw him out," Baer said.

Hartline is suspected of driving the Freightliner erratically on the norhtbound side of the freeway and triggering multiple crashes before he finally overturned the stolen big rig.

The first crash happened when Hartline merged left from the #4 lane and collided with a 2001 Toyota Tacoma driven by 22-year-old San Jacinto resident Kyle Schlosser, who sustained moderate injuries. Schlosser’s passenger Sarah Small, 19, of Hemet was seriously injured. Both victims were transported to area hospitals, according to a CHP report.

As a result of that collision, there was a chain reaction of more crashes: Schlosser’s truck rammed into a 2006 Toyota 4Runner driven by Temecula resident Anne Lennala, 56, and a 2006 Mercedes Benz driven by 39-year-old Timothy Varga, also of Temecula, was also involved, the CHP reported. Lennala sustained moderate injuries and was transported to Inland Valley Medical Center; Varga sustained minor injuries, according to the CHP report.

Rather than stop, Hartline continued northbound, but moments later collided with a 2009 Ford Taurus driven by Kristine Thrower, a 42-year-old Las Vegas resident, and a 2000 Honda Accord driven by Dio Nomany, 49, of Lompoc, the CHP reported. Thrower and her passenger, Rosanna O’Gorman, 42, also of Las Vegas, sustained moderate injuries and were transported to Inland Valley Medical Center. Nomany sustained minor injuries, according to the CHP.

Hartline finally lost control of the rig, causing it to overturn on to its side, blocking all four lanes of traffic just north of Temecula Parkway, the CHP reported.

Hartline was transported to Rancho Springs Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries and was later booked into Southwest Detention Center, the CHP reported. According to jail records, he is currently being held on suspicion of taking a vehicle without an owner’s consent and receiving known stolen property.

"We will add more charges," Baer said.

According to the CHP report, the trailers hauled by the stolen Freightliner were fully loaded with strawberries that spilled onto the freeway during the crash. It took seven hours before the freeway was able to be reopened.

Vic April 10, 2013 at 04:27 AM
Yeah, Shane. This guy has "conservative" written ALL OVER HIM!!!!
On the right side April 10, 2013 at 05:27 AM
Kb, RIGHT ON!!!! The bleeding hearts are a BIG part of the reason why we have this trash.
On the right side April 10, 2013 at 05:30 AM
Tiffany or whatever your name is, you're funny. Keep it up LOL!!
Gandhi April 10, 2013 at 08:40 AM
I think I already said that, but agreement is always good! ;)
Friendly Fred April 10, 2013 at 08:52 AM
Comment to friends and relatives of Jerimia in Tennesee! There are usually a number of dumb, angry, vindictive, and non-empathic and non-redemptive comments posted along with some objective or symphathetic comments to many articles. So do not be too shocked. There were thousands of local people that did not post mean comments. But some people post mean comments frequently. Last week they were ranting against the homeless people that are camping along a small river in Temecula. Always there are some ranting against the "illegal immigrants" from Mexico. In this case hundreds of people, maybe thousands, were stuck in traffic for hours so there was more resentment. Fortunately no one was killed, and not many were critically injured. It could easily been a lot worse. I too have relatives in Tennessee, some in the large city, and some in a small town.
Gandhi April 10, 2013 at 09:07 AM
Tiffany, he IS going to prison, say your buh byes!! You'll probably be next. Honey, "good people" dont steal big rigs and fly down the freeway with absolutely NO consideration for the human lives they are destroying!! Are you insane or what?!! He's had a rough life??! Are you serious? Any idea what he's just done to dozens of innocent lives out on that freeway??! You, dont do you? And you really dont give a damn. You are definitely next in line honey. buh bye!
Friendly Fred April 10, 2013 at 11:05 AM
Gosh Linda! I 'll bet you would be speeding too if you belived Zombies were chasing you. Actually Jerimiah although going faster than prudent and not knowing cars in the right lane along there are often barely moving, came upon them suddenly and seeing he was about to plow into the mass of cars ahead delibertly swerved left and hit the brakes to lay the truck over rather than plow into the mass of cars ahead. I know of other incidents where truck drivers deliberately jack- knifed their truck rather than crash directly front-on into the side cab of another sideways truck-tractor at the scene of a multi-truck accident.
Brittanii Bivens April 10, 2013 at 03:02 PM
And you, Linda don't obviously know her. That's my aunt and she's in a WHEELCHAIR. What could she possibly do? Now you're going to tell all of us that people in wheelchair's are going to run all the people in America over go to prison? I don't think so. So, tell me how a man who would jump over backwards for a girl in a wheelchair is so awful? Obviously he has a heart. Weather you want to see it or not. You just one of those pessimistic people who obviously hate everyone. It's also obvious you pretty much love drama and seeing people you don't know in pain. At least some of us actually know someone from the accident and is here to show we care about them. Not to trash people we don't even know.
Brittanii Bivens April 10, 2013 at 03:04 PM
Well, this Linda person on here doesn't have to be so nasty about it, now does she? He clearly didn't kill anyone so why should he have to die? That has no logic to it whatsoever. People like her disgust me.
Brittanii Bivens April 10, 2013 at 03:09 PM
That was me, but I guess she didn't want anyone to see my lovely comment to her. Aww, that makes me so sad. ): NOT. Like I said before, people who want to kill people make me sick. Which you're clearly one of them, because you have nothing better to do with your life but resent people you don't know. Weather it was accident or not, you won't ever care. Because you are a true awful person.
karen April 10, 2013 at 05:44 PM
tiffany, get over yourself and re-read the bible. the bible tells us to judge richeously. milo has the right, as all of us do, to be upset with this idiots disregard for human life. he put all of us "15 drivers" at risk, and was obviously intoxicated by some means. take your judging b.s somewhere else.
The Good Guys April 10, 2013 at 06:24 PM
J, and anyone else who was a witness to this incident, please contact the Riverside District Attorney's Office at 951-304-5400 and ask for the investigator assigned to this case.
The Good Guys April 10, 2013 at 06:29 PM
J, and anyone else who witnessed this incident occur, please contact the Riverside District Attorney's Office at 951-304-5400 and ask for the investigator assigned to this case. Thank you.
Anne April 10, 2013 at 06:37 PM
Bottom line - he stole a truck and crashed into multiple cars, injuring 7 people, 2 of the seriously. From what witnesses have said it sounds like he was driving erratically from the start. Stealing a vehicle, hit and run - they are all crimes that should result in prison.It is good for him that he has the support of his loved ones. Most of us would still love and care about our loved ones no matter what they did. But it doesn't change the fact they he commited a crime. And just because he had a rough life doesn't mean he should get a free pass on this.
Brittanii Bivens April 10, 2013 at 07:05 PM
That was me, not Tiff. And how did I judge? YOU DON'T KNOW HIM. Stay out of it. Kay? Thanks.
Tiffany Hope McMahan April 10, 2013 at 07:38 PM
well i believe that ONLY god may judge us and i know him personal know him i see him as my lil brother and no one knows what he has been through and i don't think none of u would appreciate hearing or reading thing thing iv had to in the past few days about your loved ones
Friendly Fred April 11, 2013 at 09:19 AM
The Patch printed an updated summary 4-10-2013. Among a few new details is the fact correct truck driver knows Jerimiah in Tennessee. He is not supposed to carry passengers, so he did not state that to the police at first. They picted up the load of strawberries in San Diego and were headed for a state in the north east. The driver got out of the truck at the truck stop to do something and told Jerimiah to stay in the truck. Well J. did stay in the truck, but he moved to the driver's seat and drove away down the hillf. The article says Jerimiah was moving the truck side to side in his lane to shake off the Zombies. To see the next article: http://temecula.patch.com/articles/details-emerge-on-how-zombie-fearing-teen-stole-big-rig-that-crashed-in-temecula#comment_6993818 This means the struck was not stolen, it was taken without the owners permission.
Robert Rielly April 11, 2013 at 08:59 PM
Exactly!!!!
Cousin Clem April 12, 2013 at 11:04 AM
April 12. I still have not seen any news about the Sheriffs out looking for the Zombies. Are they afraid? I'll bet the sheriffs do not want to catch them. There is no room in the jail for Zombies. I'm sure when this kid started this truck trip he had no intention of taking a truck without permission from the owner, nor of speeding down the highway and running into cars. Why isn't he being held in the county mental hospital for observation and evaluation instead of county jail?
Cousin Clem April 12, 2013 at 11:29 AM
Reply to Brittanii and Tiffany. I suggest you don't fret 'bout what Linda says. She was just whining after another article that she was fed up with Patch because EIGHT of her recent posts (on other articles) had been rejected and she did not see why.
Daniel April 12, 2013 at 10:18 PM
It's obvious the driver door was open Daniel was drivin why was Jeremiah still in the truck if he was driving it flipped on the driver side
Daniel April 12, 2013 at 10:20 PM
On the passenger side I mean not the driver
Daniel April 12, 2013 at 10:22 PM
On the passenger side not the driver
Smo April 13, 2013 at 07:53 AM
Brit and tiff, stop being ridiculous. You obviously care for this person but he committed multiple crimes, all the while putting other people in danger. He will serve his deserved time for this crime, end of story.
Tiffany Hope McMahan April 13, 2013 at 06:06 PM
how would u feel if u was the one read that ur baby brother should b shot n the head 4 something he didnt do on purpose?? so u stop being ridiculous. im not just goin 2 sit back and let ppl say that bout him and not say anything sry. im sure u wouldnt either now would u?? he goin 2 do time u should learn how 2 read i never even said he shouldnt. and i have prepared myself that thank u have a nice day
KB April 13, 2013 at 10:47 PM
Brit/Tiff/?: Does any one of your multiple personalities know how to just be quiet?
Tiffany Hope McMahan April 14, 2013 at 04:14 AM
ok i dont know wat ur prob is but i dont have multiple personalities and britt is my niece she just used mine tell she made her one and no when it come 2 my family i dont know how 2 b quite and i never will and i dont think u would either so if u dont like its dont read it kk thanx have a nice night
Brittanii Bivens April 14, 2013 at 06:37 AM
Smo, where did I say he didn't need to do his time? Hm? I would like to know, because I don't recall seeing that anywhere in my comments. Sorry if you don't like it. KB, Tiff is my AUNT. No murk tipple personalities, sorry. So shut up, kay? Thanks. To both of you: clearly we have more to worry about than your childish ways. He's our family and we will continue to stand behind him, wether you agree with it or not. Buh-bye!
Beach mom April 17, 2013 at 04:31 AM
Just a thought, could he have been trying to shake Rob Zombie? He's so 1980s ......I could buy that.
Jacque May 08, 2013 at 05:24 PM
Lol zombies......hmmm. hope he gets the help he needs.

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