Saturday at about 8:45 p.m., a fatal traffic crash occurred in Mountain Center about 0.2 miles north of Highway 74.
According to a California Highway Patrol report, Ron Barney, 25, was traveling south on Highway 243 in his black 1996 Honda Civic. His speed was unknown. Hiroko Momii, 67, of Idyllwild, was traveling north in her 2002 Silver Subaru Forester on Highway 243 at about 30 miles per hour.
Barney crossed the double yellow centerline and crashed head on with Momii. Barney was pronounced dead at the scene. The Riverside County Coroner’s office reports his residence as Anza; CHP reports it as Lake Elsinore. Both offices reported that he could have moved, explaining the discrepancy.
Mercy Air Ambulance flew Momii to Riverside Regional Medical Center with major injuries, including a laceration to the head and multiple broken bones.
“I’m feeling better. It was serious but I’m doing OK,” Momii said Tuesday morning, May 6. During a six-hour surgery, doctors repaired her broken legs and shattered bones. She said her left knee and ankle were shattered.
She has been surprised to receive several “get well” calls and welcomes those, although she hopes to be transferred to a recovery center soon. “It’s day-to-day, but as soon as possible,” she said.
Highway 243 was blocked in both directions for more than an hour.
The cause of the crash is still under investigation.