Details are emerging about the wreck on Interstate 15 in Temecula, California that shut down the highway for 7 hours.
On Saturday evening, Daniel Martinez and passenger 19-year-old Jerimiah Hartline stopped at the Rainbow scales at approximately 6:00 p.m. Martinez exited the vehicle and instructed Hartline to stay in the truck.
When Martinez got out of the truck, Hartline slipped into the driver’s seat and took off and began heading north on I-15.
Witnesses say Hartline was driving erratically.
“Hartline thought Zombies were chasing him and [were] clinging to the truck,” CHP Officer Nathan Baer said. “Hartline swerved the truck side to side to shake the Zombies off.”
As Hartline merged into traffic, he collided with a 2001 Toyota Tacoma, driven by 22-year-old Kyle Schlosser. Schlosser sustained moderate injuries and his passenger, 19-year-old Sarah Small sustained serious injuries.
That collision set off a chain reaction of subsequent crashes.
Schlosser’s truck then crashed into a 2006 Toyota 4Runner driven by 56-year-old Anne Lennala and a 2006 Mercedes driven by 39-year-old Timothy Varga. Lennala sustained moderate injuries and Varga sustained minor injuries.
The truck then continued on its collision course. The Freightliner continued driving and crashed into a 2009 Ford Taurus driven by 42-year-old Kristine Thrower and a 2000 Honda Accord driven by 49-year-old Dio Nomany.
Thrower and her passenger sustained moderate injuries and Nomany sustained minor injuries.
The Freightliner then flipped on its side.
Originally, witnesses claimed they saw a passenger exit the vehicle and get into a white van, but that idea has been dismissed.
Hartline is currently in jail. Drug and alcohol test results are pending.