Friends and family of a mother and grandmother killed Wednesday morning in a five-car crash on the southbound 71 Freeway in Chino Hills could call for local and state officials to install flashing lights to warn people of slowing traffic near the Butterfield Ranch Road exit.
“My hope now is to get Caltrans to put up flashing lights to warn people of slow and stopped traffic ahead,” said Rick Bui, a Chino Hills resident who is a family friend of Jeanie Moncada-Rosales and her mother Sonia Moncada, who died in the 8:13 a.m. crash that also injured Mrs. Moncada-Rosales’ 18-year-old son Alvaro Rosales, a recent graduate of Ayala High. “That area is prone to accidents,” Mr. Bui said.
Traffic often slows in the area because of the elimination of the carpool lane as the freeway transitions from Chino Hills to Riverside County, and as motorists merge onto the 91 Freeway.
Mrs. Moncada-Rosales, 51, and her mother, 76, died at the scene and Alvaro was taken to Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center in Pomona with minor to moderate injuries.
Four other people were also hospitalized with minor to moderate injuries, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Investigators said the driver of a box truck was in the slow lane headed south when he failed to stop for slowing traffic at Butterfield Ranch Road.
The box truck rear-ended a slow-moving black Ford SUV, went out of control and struck the white Honda Accord driven by Mrs. Moncada-Rosales on the driver’s side.
It then rotated to its left, overturned on top of a Chevy Volt and collided with a Honda SUV, pinning it against the cement center divider, according to the CHP.
The box truck driver told investigators he was unable to stop for the slowing traffic.
Investigators had not identified the box truck driver, or the other occupants of the cars involved in the crash, by Champion press time Friday morning.
“Jeanine (Moncada-Rosales) had one of the biggest hearts we all know,” Mr. Bui said. “She was very supportive in everything Alvaro did -- school, baseball, everything. She loved all of Alvaro’s friends as one of her own. She showed us so much love and how to love.”
Alvaro is scheduled to attend the Concordia University in Irvine, in the fall.
It took CHP officials about five-and-a-half hours to investigate the scene. All lanes of traffic were reopened at 1 p.m.
During the closure, traffic on the southbound side of the 71 Freeway was diverted off at Pine Avenue and rerouted to Butterfield Ranch Road to re-enter the freeway.
“I drive down that area often and intentionally slow down way ahead to give myself and others space,” said Mr. Bui, who spent time with Alvaro at the hospital Wednesday night. “There have been times vehicles swerve to the shoulder because of slowing stopped traffic. I know a lot of accidents happen there and knew some day, some not paying attention would plow through.”
A GoFundMe page has been established for Alvaro and his father, Alvaro Rosales Sr. https://www.gofundme.com/eujm86-rosales-family. As of Friday morning, the site had raised $26,555.
In the past 14 months, there have been two other collisions on the southbound lanes of the 71 Freeway where a driver failed to stop for slowing traffic between Pine Avenue and Butterfield Ranch Road.
On April 28, 2018, a 35-year-old pregnant woman from Ontario was killed in a four-car crash after the driver of a BMW740 did not stop for slowing traffic in the southbound lanes of the 71 Freeway between Pine Avenue and Butterfield Ranch Road and struck her Hyundai Elantra from behind.
Jacqueline Dominguez, a 2001 Ayala High graduate, and her unborn child died a short time later at a hospital, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Two weeks ago, a 39-year-old man failed to slow his pickup truck for stopped traffic in the southbound lanes of the 71 Freeway at Pine and got wedged underneath a stopped semi-truck.
The driver had to be extricated from the truck and was taken to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton with serious injuries.