By Marshall Smith

Staff Reporter


On Saturday July 4, at about 7:20 p.m., a 64-year-old man of Escondido was driving his 1999 Nissan Maxima westbound on Highway 74 just west of the intersection with Carrizo Road in Pinyon. With him in the vehicle was Natalia Adaca, 58, also of Escondido.

Mary Jane Plante, 46, of La Quinta, was driving eastbound in a 2005 Toyota Tundra when she crossed the double-yellow line and collided head-on with the Nissan Maxima. According to California Highway Patrol Public Information Officer Darren Meyer, after the collision, Plante fled the scene on foot.

The driver of the Nissan was transported to Desert Regional Medical Center by CHP helicopter where he later succumbed to his injuries. The Riverside County Coroner’s website has not yet indentified the deceased. It is customary not to reveal a decedent’s name until their next of kin have been notified. His passenger was transported by American Medical Response ground to Eisenhower Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.

On Sunday morning, July 5, a witness called CHP dispatch to report that Plante was the woman involved in the collision. Plante was located later that morning by CHP officers at the Lake Hemet Market where she had been waiting for a friend to pick her up. Officers arrested Plante without incident and she was charged with felony driving under the influence, felony hit and run, and gross vehicular manslaughter. The incident is currently under investigation by CHP Officer Ron Esparza. Anyone with further information may contact Meyer at (951) 769-2000, ext. 238 or after 5 p.m. by email at [email protected].

On Sunday, July 5, at 3:10 p.m., Brittany Fleishman, 21, of Indio was driving her red Chevrolet Sonic east on Highway 371 west of the intersection with Highway 74 when her vehicle collided into the rear of a white Mercedes Benz driven by Eric Halla, 68, of Indio. Halla complained of neck pain but neither he nor Fleishman required medical transport.

Marshall Smith can be reached at [email protected].