On Sunday, April 19, Idyllwild resident David Jerome, 51, was driving west on Highway 74 in his 2002 gray Honda Accord when Hemet resident Michael Hernandez, 48, driving a 1999 Dodge Ram truck east on 74, lost control slammed into the front left of Jerome’s vehicle. The collision happened at 3:30 p.m. nine-tenths of a mile east of Bee Canyon Truck Trail.
Jerome said he had no chance to avoid Hernandez’s vehicle since the truck, at the time of collision, was blocking part of both lanes. California Highway Patrol Public Information Officer Darren Meyer said Hernandez was found to be at fault and cited for “unsafe turning movements and distracted driving.”
Jerome said Hernandez told him he had dropped his cell phone and was reaching down to get it when he came into the turn and overcorrected.
“My airbags deployed and saved my life,” said Jerome. He said his foot was injured when it got stuck under the gas pedal of his car. “I was on crutches for a week and I’m still hobbling around.”
Hernandez’s truck was loaded with fishing gear. Part of a fishing pole lodged in Jerome’s front fender.
Said Meyer, “Hernandez is a poster child for distracted driving.”