2 dead in separate crashes on Ortega Highway after motorcyclists tried to pass vehicles

by in News

Motorcyclists attempting to pass vehicles on the Ortega Highway resulted in two deaths on opposite sides of the highway on Sunday afternoon.

The California Highway Patrol said the first crash happened at around 3 p.m., when a motorcyclist was driving his Kawasaki west on Highway 74, also called Ortega Highway, near the Riverside/Orange county border.

“As the motorcyclist negotiated a turn, he attempted to pass a Dodge Durango, which was traveling in the same direction as him,” the CHP said in a collision report. “He steered to the right of the Dodge, accelerated and then lost control as he swerved into an asphalt turn-out.”

Officials said the motorcyclist, identified as Lam Nguyen, a 21-year-old Orange resident, and his motorcycle fell to the ground and hit a boulder in a dirt embankment. Nguyen was thrown from his motorcycle onto the dirt shoulder just off the road.

Nguyen, who was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, was pronounced dead at the site of the crash, the CHP said.

The second fatal crash happened just west of Grand Avenue near Lake Elsinore at around 4:15 p.m. on Highway 74, when a 27-year-old Hemet man tried to pass a vehicle while driving east, the CHP said.

Officials said the motorcyclist, identified as Zachary Johnson, crossed over double-painted yellow lines to try and pass a vehicle. While on the opposite side of the road, he crashed head-first into a Toyota Camry.

The CHP said Johnson was ejected from his motorcycle during the crash and was pronounced dead at the scene.

No arrests were made in either crash.

Anyone with more information on either crash can contact the CHP’s Temecula office at 951-506-2000.