Three-vehicle collision sends three people to hospital

Ramona Fire Department/Cal Fire first responders tend to the driver of a Chevy HHR. Sentinel photos/Karen Brainard
Ramona Fire Department/Cal Fire first responders tend to the driver of a Chevy HHR. Sentinel photos/Karen Brainard

Update, May 31, 9:30 a.m. —

The Chula Vista police officer, Nathaniel Walker, who was airlifted to Palomar Medical Center with major injuries Wednesday after he was hit in a traffic collision at State Route 78 and Earlham Street is doing better, reported Capt. Gary Wedge with the Chula Vista Police Department.

"Still in pain but in good spirits," Wedge said Thursday evening. Wedge said Walker was healing and going through the recovery process, adding "which I'm sure will take some time."

Walker, 33, is an eight-year veteran with the Chula Vista Police Department and three of those years he has been assigned to the Traffic Enforcement Unit, said the captain. Walker was riding a motorcycle on a police training ride when he was struck on westbound State Route 78, ejected from his motorcycle and catapulted into the windshield of a car. The driver of that car, a teenage girl, rear-ended a Chevrolet HHR, pushing it into the path of Walker, according to California Highway Patrol, which has also reported that the girl was possibly distracted by text-messaging. CHP said on Thursday afternoon that she had been released from Palomar Medical Center. The hospital reported that Rex Schildhouse, the 61-year-old driver of the Chevy HHR, was reported to be in good condition.

Wedge said that he hopes Walker will be released from the hospital this weekend.

Update, May 30 —

A three-vehicle accident on State Route 78 and Earlham Street that sent three people to the hospital Wednesday afternoon was possibly caused by a newly licensed teenage driver distracted by text-messaging, California Highway Patrol reported.

Injured in the accident were a Chula Vista police motorcycle officer taking part in a training ride; Rex Schildhouse, 61, a director on the Ramona Municipal Water District board; and a 17-year-old girl from Ramona, according to authorities.

CHP reported that the teen was heading east on Route 78 around 2:30 p.m. when the 2011 Ford Fusion sedan she was driving rear-ended a 2006 Chevrolet HHR driven by Schildhouse who had stopped to make a left turn onto Earlham Street.

The impact propelled Schildhouse’s vehicle across the double yellow lines into oncoming westbound traffic and directly in the path of the Chula Vista police officer, CHP Public Information Officer Brian Pennings reported.

The collision sent the lawman tumbling over the Chevrolet and crashing through the windshield of the Ford, according to CHP.

Medics airlifted the police officer to Palomar Medical Center for treatment of severe trauma, Pennings said. Ground ambulances took the girl and Schildhouse to the same hospital with moderate injuries.

On Thursday Palomar Medical Center reported that Schildhouse was in good condition and CHP said the teenager had been released from the hospital. No information was available about the police officer.

Preliminary evidence suggested that the teenager had been texting behind the wheel — a vehicle-code violation — moments before the accident, according to Pennings. She could face charges pending completion of the CHP's investigation in the case, he said.

Original story:

A three-vehicle  accident on State Route 78 and Earlham Street sent three people — a director of the Ramona Municipal Water District   (RMWD), a Chula Vista police officer, and a teenager —  to Palomar Medical Center around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, reported California Highway Patrol.

Rex Schildhouse, 61, and a 17-year-old girl, both  from Ramona, were transported by ambulance with moderate injuries, said CHP Public Information Officer Brian Pennings. Schildhouse is a director on the water board. The police officer, who was riding a motorcycle, was flown by helicopter to Palomar Medical Center.

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A Chula Vista police officer was ejected from a motorcycle and landed in the windshield of this car, reported CHP.

“The motorcycle officer sustained major injuries,” said Pennings. He was with a group of police officers on motorcycles on a training ride, reported CHP.

According to Pennings, Schildhouse was in a 2006 Chevy HHR, heading east on State Route 78, and was attempting to make a left turn on Earlham Street when he stopped to yield to oncoming traffic. The teenager, in a 2011 Ford  Fusion, was behind Schildhouse and failed to recognize that he had stopped and hit the rear of his vehicle, said Pennings.

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Officers from San Diego County Sheriff's Department, California Highway Patrol, and other area police departments look over the wreckage of a three-vehicle accident that included a police motorcycle at State Route 78 and Earlham Street Wednesday afternoon.

The force of the impact propelled Schildhouse’s vehicle across the double yellow lines into oncoming westbound traffic and directly in the path of the Chula Vista police officer, he reported.

“The motorcycle officer had little to no time to react and collided with the right front of the HHR,” Pennings said.

The police officer was fully ejected from the bike and landed into the windshield of the Ford Fusion, said Pennings.

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Police officers look at a downed motorcycle after it was involved in a three-vehicle collision on Wednesday afternoon.

The CHP officer said Route 78 was temporarily closed between Second Street and Magnolia Avenue “due to the nature of the collision and investigation of the collision.”

   
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