Traffic collision on Highway 243 near Ridgeview Drive. Photo by Jenny Kirchner

By Marshall Smith
Staff Reporter
and Jenny Kirchner
Contributor, photographer


Four weekend accidents, three involving motorcycles and all four, producing injuries took place on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 29 and 30.

According to Officer Darren Meyer, California Highway Patrol public information officer, the first occurred about 2:10 p.m., on Saturday, Sept. 29, on Highway 74, just east of Highway 243 in Mountain Center. According to CHP investigating Officer Mike Murawski, a 2005 Harley Davidson motorcycle driven by 79-year-old Don Ihrig of Yucaipa crossed over the double-yellow line and collided with an eastbound SUV. Ihrig sustained injuries and was first transported by American Medical Response to the Keenwild USFS helipad and then Mercy Air airlifted him to Riverside Regional Medical Center.

The second, also involving a motorcycle, took place later that day on Highway 243 south of Ridgeview Drive, in front of the Idyllwild Community Center site. Again CHP Officer Murawaki was on the scene of the two-car, one-motorcycle pileup.

CHP Officer David Kling reported that a 2011 VW Jetta driven by Nicole Geissel, 26, was stopped waiting for traffic to turn into the ICC site. Behind her, Thomas Lamont, 20, of Idyllwild was stopped on his parents’ 2005 Yamaha motorcycle, when Lauren Hopper, 21, of Idyllwild, driving a 2003 Honda Accord attempted to stop, but rear-ended Lamont causing him to hit Geissel. Neither Hopper nor Geissel were injured but Lamont sustained minor injuries and Idyllwild Fire transported him to Kaiser Hospital in Moreno Valley. CHP Officer Meyer noted that unsafe speed was cited in the accident report as a contributing cause.

According to California Highway Patrol Office Mike Murawski, Don Ihrig, 79 of Yucaipa was riding his 2005 Harley Davidson west on Hwy 74 just east of 243 around 2:10pm Saturday when he lost control, was ejected from his motorcycle and hit another vehicle traveling east on Hwy 74. Ihrig was airlifted to Riverside Regional Medical Center by Mercy Air. Photo by Jenny Kirchner

Meyer said the third incident took place at 1:55 a.m., Sunday, Sept. 30, on Highway 243 south of Saunders Meadow Road. According to Meyer, a single vehicle making an unsafe turn crashed and two occupants of the vehicle sustained minor injuries. Alcohol was not cited as a cause in the initial report.


Later that morning, around 9 a.m. on Highway 74 about one mile east of the Forest Service’s Cranston Station, a solo motorcycle went 10 to 15 feet over the side causing injury to the motorcyclist. Responding personnel included CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire, California Highway Patrol and Mercy Air ambulance. The injured rider was transported by air ambulance for treatment.