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Box truck driver charged with murder, crash victim identified

 

Last updated 5/4/2021 at 6:29pm

Courtesy photo /GoFundMe.com

Garret Gabriel Caouette passed away in a fatal car accident on Thursday April 22nd, 2021. He was happy to be on his way back to school when he was rear ended by a truck while stopped in traffic. https://gofund.me/8ced94ad

TEMECULA – Kevin May, 47, of Fontana, the driver of the box truck who was directly behind a Prius and failed to slow down, on April 22, causing a collision that killed a young man has been charged with murder and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

The young man has not officially been identified, however, a Gofundme.com page that has been set up by his family for Garret Gabriel Caouette, 18, who is identified as a young man from Murrieta who died in the crash.

According to the Gofundme page organized by Joshua Caouette, "Garret Gabriel Caouette passed away in a fatal car accident on Thursday April 22nd, 2021. He was happy to be on his way back to school when he was rear ended by a truck while stopped in traffic. Garret had just turned 18 on April 2nd and was accepted into Cal State Channel Islands to pursue a degree in Ecology with a focus in marine biology. He enjoyed nature and adventure through his many experiences in hiking the national parks, zip lining, river rafting, and had just started the process to be become scuba-certified. He had interest in games and appreciated how they brought his friends and family closer. Garret's other passions were reflected in his involvement with athletics competing in cross country, basketball, track, and field. Garret, along with his teammates, did not always reflect his success on the scoreboard. However, they understood that the game was about more than winning and losing. It was clear that Garret appraised himself and others on what really matters – character – rather than other worldly things we all get caught up in. It was without doubt that his involvement in church provided him with the excellent life compass he used for himself. His worldly success naturally followed doing things like running 3 miles in a little over 19 minutes. He was a fast kid whose life should not have ended so quickly. He was the kid who would offer to cook breakfast for his young nephew and did not have to be asked to help clean up after dinner out of love and respect for his parents. He was the brother whose goofiness' and quirkiness would always put a smile on your face." https://gofund.me/8ced94ad

Kevin May's vehicle collided into the Toyota's rear end," according to CHP spokesperson Officer Lassig.

May, who was hauling furniture, is suspected of driving under the influence of drugs, Lassig said. He was hospitalized with moderate injuries at Inland Valley Medical Center, and has been arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, the officer continued.

The crash happened about 12:30 p.m. on southbound I-15 between Overland Drive and Rancho California Road, according to the California Highway

Patrol.

Officer Mike Lassig said all of the vehicles were in the slow lane when a tractor-trailer driven by a 47-year-old Bloomington woman slowed for traffic, and the victim, driving a 2015 Toyota Prius, braked behind the big rig.

"The box truck and Toyota became engulfed in flames," he said. The driver of the Prius, who was not immediately identified, was unable to escape the inferno and perished in the sedan, according to the CHP spokesman.

May bailed out of his truck, suffering moderate injuries, and was taken to Inland Valley Regional Medical Center in Wildomar. The big rig driver was not hurt, and the semi did not burn, Lassig said.

Murrieta Fire & Rescue and Riverside County Fire Department crews reached the location within a few minutes and knocked down the blaze just before 1 p.m.

Lassig said the investigation is ongoing and an arrest may be imminent. CHP officers shut down three of four southbound lanes to facilitate first responders and clear the wreckage. A SigAlert was issued at 12:55 p.m. for both sides of I-15 due to major traffic congestion stemming from the crash.

Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.

 

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