Police have arrested a driver believed to be responsible for an early-morning fatal hit-and-run crash in a stolen pickup truck Wednesday in Hemet.
• A 25-year-old man stole a pickup truck and was speeding through town at least 60 mph after midnight when he ran a stop sign and crashed into another pickup truck.
• The passenger in the stolen truck and the driver of the other truck both died. A passenger in the other truck was hospitalized with head lacerations.
• The stolen truck driver fled the scene on foot but police later found him and arrested him on three felony counts.
California Highway Patrol Officer Daryl Crandall said 25-year-old Shane Albatross Stanscheit was driving a stolen Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck north on Cornell Street at Stetson Avenue when the crash occurred. He ran the stop sign at Stetson Avenue and broadsided another Silverado pickup truck, driven by 44-year-old Luciano Cervantes.
The crash thrust Cervantes’ pickup into the front yard of a house on the corner, where it crashed into a palm tree at the front door. The stolen pickup Stanscheit was driving rolled over and landed on its roof.
Stanscheit’s passenger, 26-year-old Chris Caldwell, was not wearing a seat belt and was thrown through the windshield. He died on the way to the hospital.
Cervantes died at the scene. He and his wife had been taking their three children — ages 3, 7 and 13 – to a relative’s home on the way to work on an overnight theater cleaning crew. Cervantes’ wife, Maria, suffered cuts to her head and was hospitalized. The three children all suffered minor injuries.
“We’re estimating the minimum speed the suspect was going was 60 mph, given this was a pretty horrific crash,” Crandall said.
Stanscheit fled the scene on foot. Witnesses said he called Caldwell’s name and then ran away screaming, “Oh, God!”
When police went to the home of Caldwell’s parents to notify them of their son’s death, they found Stanscheit there and arrested him, according to a Southwest Riverside News Network report. He was charged with felony hit and run, two counts of vehicular manslaughter and possession of a stolen vehicle, CHP officer Scott Beauchene said. Officers were awaiting toxicology tests to determine if alcohol was a factor.
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