A school bus caught fire, causing evacuation of students, at just before 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 5, on Highway 74, at mile marker 54 below Mountain Center. According to a Cal Fire incident report, the Chino Valley Unified School District bus was on the side of the road showing smoke coming from the rear, with students evacuating as the first engine company arrived. The incident report said the fire was contained prior to firefighters’ arrival. No injuries were reported.
In other incidents, a single vehicle backed into two pedestrians at 1:50 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 3. Carmen Castro, 28, of Idyllwild, was parked in the lot of Arriba Mexican Restaurant on Pine Crest Avenue near the intersection with Highway 243. When she began backing her 2011 gray Nissan Murano out onto Pine Crest, she struck two pedestrians, John Byrns, 43, of Santa Clarita, and Linda Harman, 57, of Idyllwild. Both were knocked over and complained of pain. Hartman was transported to San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital in Banning. Castro was found at fault for unsafe backing up.
On Friday, Feb. 5, at 2:16 p.m., Bryan Campbell, 33, of Hemet, was driving his 2013 green Kia Soul westbound on Highway 74, eight-tenths of a mile west of Strawberry Creek Bridge, when he failed to execute a left curve, overcorrected, crossed lanes and caused his vehicle to overturn. Both Campbell and his passenger, a 2-year-old, were transported with moderate injuries to Hemet Valley Medical Center. The child was strapped into a car seat at the time of the crash. No other vehicles were involved and no alcohol was found to be a causative factor.
At 2:10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 6, Stephen Blount, 59, of Hemet, was riding his 1985 Honda Goldwing touring motorcycle east on Highway 74, east of McCall Park Road in Mountain Center, when he lost control and ran into the mountain side. Blount suffered minor injuries and was transported by Idyllwild Fire to Riverside County Regional Medical’s trauma center. No other vehicles were involved and no alcohol was found to be involved.
At 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 6, Christopher Romash, 39, of Banning, was driving his 2001 green Ford Ranger in the area of the North Mountain Truck Trail in Poppet Flats, 7.4 miles west of Highway 243, when his vehicle went over the side, falling 300 feet before it came to rest. It took three hours for responders to free Romash. He was then transported, with significant injuries, to Riverside County Regional Medical Center.