California Marine struck, killed while assisting woman in freeway crash
By BEATRIZ VALENZUELA | The San Bernardino County Sun (Tribune News Service) | Published: December 20, 2016
LOMA LINDA, Calif. — What was supposed to be the start of one family’s Christmas celebration ended in tragedy early Monday morning when a Marine driving his family to the airport was struck and killed on the 10 Freeway after stopping to help a driver in a rollover crash.
“He made the comment to his family he had to help,” Redlands Fire Battalion Chief Jim Topoleski said Monday about Enrico Antonio Rojo, a Marine platoon sergeant who pulled over to help a woman who’d reportedly collided with a tractor-trailer, flipping her vehicle onto its roof.
“He just stopped to help,” he said.
The driver of a black Toyota Matrix — Crystal Adrianna Martinez, 22, of Loma Linda — was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, California Highway Patrol Officer Brian Alvarez said.
Just after 1:30 a.m., CHP authorities received reports that a vehicle was on its roof in the westbound lanes at Mountain View Avenue, according to the incident log.
A short time later, reports went out a man had been struck by a passing 2017 Hyundai Sonata.
That man was later identified as Rojo, 29, of Ontario, according to the San Bernardino County Coroner.
“(The driver) of the Sonata tried to turn his vehicle to the left but collided with the man,” Alvarez said.
Paramedics, including the Redlands fire crew, were called to the scene and found CHP officers performing CPR on Rojo, who was injured. He was later pronounced dead at the scene.
The driver and passenger in the Sonata stopped and are cooperating with the investigation.
“The driver and passenger were completely shaken up,” Topoleski said. “They were torn apart at what had just happened.”
All westbound lanes of the freeway were shut down, and traffic was diverted onto California Street in Redlands for at least four hours, records indicate.
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