A motorist who allegedly killed a 47-year-old man in a head-on collision stemming from the suspect driving the wrong way while intoxicated on a roadway just south of Corona was under arrest Monday.
Daniel Saul Cortez, 30, of Norco is suspected of killing 47-year-old Martin Padilla of Hemet in the predawn hours Friday at the intersection of Temescal Canyon and Leroy roads, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Cortez is recovering from injuries suffered in the crash but was formally placed under arrest while hospitalized over the weekend, CHP Officer Javier Navarro said.
The suspect will be booked into the Robert Presley Jail in Riverside after he’s medically cleared to leave the hospital.
According to Navarro, about 4:45 a.m. Friday, Cortez was at the wheel of a 2014 Ford Focus going southbound on Temescal Canyon when he crossed into the northbound lanes, steering into oncoming traffic.
Navarro said that as the suspect approached the intersection of Temescal Canyon and Leroy at an undetermined speed, Padilla reached the same location going northbound in the northbound lanes.
“The driver of the Focus continued the wrong way in the northbound lane, where a head-on crash occurred,” Navarro said.
Witnesses immediately stopped and called 911.
Corona Fire Department engine crews reached the location in minutes and found Padilla trapped inside his vehicle. The victim was extricated a short time later and pronounced dead at the scene. Cortez suffered minor to moderate injuries and was taken to a hospital, where further investigation verified that he had been driving under the influence, Navarro alleged.
Temescal Canyon was completely shut down until shortly before 8 a.m. Friday, while the wreckage was cleared and a preliminary investigation was conducted.