With rain, ice and a dusting of snow over last weekend, driving on Hill roads tested the skills of motorists. Four crashes took place from Thursday, Dec. 15, through Monday, Dec. 19.
At 12:55 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15, John Huddleston, 35 of Idyllwild, was driving his 2001 gray Dodge Ram truck westbound on Highway 74 just east of the intersection with Apple Canyon Road. Huddleston was towing a black trailer when, according to the California Highway Patrol report, he became distracted and allowed his vehicle to drift to the right. When he saw he was headed directly toward a yellow sign warning of deer in the area, he hit the brakes hard, hit the sign, and went over the side and down an embankment. The truck overturned and came to rest on its roof. Huddleston was not injured and no other vehicles were involved.
At 11:10 a.m. Friday, Dec. 16, Ernesto Gutierrez, 34, of San Jacinto, was driving his 1999 black Toyota Tacoma truck westbound on Highway 74, 2 ½ miles west of McCall Park Road, when he failed to properly execute a right-hand curve and crossed the double-yellow lines directly into the path of an oncoming 2004 white Jeep Rubicon driven by Daniel McNutt, 62, of Murrieta. The vehicles collided head-on but owing to fairly low speeds of both vehicles, no one was injured in the crash.
At 10:45 p.m. also on Friday, Mario Deniz, 22, of Mountain Center, was driving a white 2002 Chevy Silverado truck southbound on Highway 243 about 1 ½ miles north of the intersection with Highway 74, when he crossed over the double-yellow lines and collided with a 2011 GMC Savannah van belonging to Idyllwild Arts Academy being driven northbound by Jeffrey Cohen, 70, of Idyllwild. Deniz was cited for driving under the influence. No one claimed injury in the collision.
At 3:45 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 18, Jennifer Lattanzi, 33, of Hemet, was driving her black 2003 Honda Civic southbound on Highway 243 1 ½ miles north of the intersection with Highway 74 when she allowed her vehicle to cross the double-yellow lines and collided with a 2004 Toyota Scion xA being driven by Edgar Solis, 29, of Idyllwild. Lattanzi was cited for driving under the influence. No one was injured in the collision and no other vehicles were involved.