Crash kills 4 people in homebound weekend traffic

UPDATE 12:33pm: Added identities of two of those who died.

Four people died on the road between Parker and Desert Center on Monday, according to news reports.


Photo courtesy Brian Mumey and the Los Angeles Times

Two soccer coaches from a Chino Hills high school were among those killed. Matt Hodges, 30, was the head coach of the varsity girls’ soccer team at Ayala High School, and Gabby Constante was the assistant coach of the team. Hodges was driving the 2012 Toyota Corolla the group were traveling in, according to the KABC newsroom.

The crash, on Highway 177 around 19 miles north of Desert Center at around 3pm on Memorial Day, was apparently caused when the car, heading southbound toward I-10, moved out of its lane and collided with a tractor-trailer rig coming in the other direction.

Eyewitnesses described an extreme amount of “carnage and debris” across 100 yards of the roadway, with diesel fuel from the big rig spilling all over the roadside.

The three passengers, Constante and two unidentified women from Murrieta, were pronounced dead at the scene according to news reports. Hodges was airlifted to Desert Regional Medical Center, where he later died. Two of the female victims were 20 years old and one was 21, according to the CHP. The driver of the big rig was reportedly uninjured, contrary to previous accounts.

An eyewitness, Brian Mumey, said the accident was related to the volume of traffic heading homebound after the Memorial Day weekend:

He said the flow of traffic was moving about 60 mph, with many pickups and RVs pulling boats as they returned from the Memorial Day weekend. He said several cars attempted to pass the procession, darting in and out of traffic — including the driver involved in the collision, who had passed Mumey about five minutes earlier.

“There were all kinds of people passing,” Mumey said. “I said, ‘This is crazy. Somebody’s going to get killed.’

“This was just tragic — one of those things that didn’t have to happen.”

Highway 177 is the stretch of road used to link I-10 with Highway 62 which leads to Parker, AZ. Traffic is heaviest on weekends, especially holiday weekends, as people come to visit the Parker Strip. Like the 62, it is a two-lane roadway with many twists and dips, raising the risks, especially with heavy traffic as people attempt to overtake slower vehicles. A 2014 report on Highway 62 identified it as being 3 times deadlier than average California highways.

Parker Live recommends spending the extra 10 – 16 minutes it takes to use Mohave Road (‘Route 1’) or US-95 via Blythe, CA instead, especially when traffic is expected to be busy (see below).

News of the coaches’ death comes a day before the school’s graduation ceremony, at which the coaches will now be remembered. Six CHP officers and 11 firefighters attended the incident.

162 comments

  1. Sean Callahan

    this is why we drive thru farm land

  2. Crystal Nicole Flanegan

    Don’t pass on those roads 😟

  3. Diane

    Sad. Trying to pass on these roads is dangerous without traffic. You need to ask yourself if saving that extra 15 minutes is worth your life.

  4. Annie Liles

    Sending prayers for the families of all involved.

  5. Trevor Hansen

    Crazy it could have been us a couple weeks ago.

  6. Justin Ellison

    Us we have to be careful

  7. Jan Fabey M

    Just devastating. Prayers for the families and friends.

  8. Candyce Kidd

    I don’t ever use that road so sad everyone is all ways in a hurry to get some where prayers for there family’s

  9. Brian Renn

    We were there yesterday, we saw the helicopter land. We were the 3rd car behind the stopped cars. When we passed it, we couldn’t believe the condition of the car. It was sad. But passing is safe when not rushed and done correctly.

  10. Kevin Winslett

    Bryant Shontz, thanks for getting us home safe buddy!

  11. Parker Live Updates

    Brian- Agreed. Passing is often necessary, but should be done with utmost care and 100% certainty that the road is clear.

  12. Parker Live Updates

    We recommend people use Mohave Road via Ehrenberg, AZ or US-95 via Blythe, CA as alternate routes, especially on busy weekends.

  13. Pamela Adkins

    Were there from Parker?

  14. Lisa Stewart

    I drove that way yesterday and saw a lot of people passing in beyond tight spots and also on curves, I would rather arrive home late than not at all😢prayers to the families of those who lost their lives

  15. Melissa Castillo

    So sad all three women graduated from Vista Murrieta

  16. Zac Chambers

    Senseless. We passed through there about an hour before this happened. Definitely amateur hour on the water and on the roads coming home. The River is a great place to avoid on holiday weekends. Prayers to the families of those involved.

  17. Kelly Alfaro

    Prayers for the families and the soccer community.

  18. Jackie Schulte Romaine

    Hi Kelly, Sydney played for Matt for a few years. He was a lovely young man. So sad.

  19. Michele Montagne Roe

    BeckyHofstetter..2 we’re coaches at the school my son used to go to. I hate rice road

  20. Amanda D

    This road should have four lanes.

  21. Lauren Preece

    Janelle and Dane were stuck in the traffic and saw it. Someone told us just as we were leaving so we didn’t go rice rd. So sad 😔

  22. Claudia Romero

    Agree 100% we drove through there around 930am there were alot crazy people passing Its so dangers specially on busy weekend.. its so sad our prayers to families..

  23. Mickey Kamenar

    thoughts and prayers for the family members dealing with this tradgic happening.

  24. Mary Bell-barnes

    very sad and senseless, inexperience and tragic prayers to the families

  25. Karla Beck Gledhill

    2 were Ayala High school (Chino Hills) soccer coaches.

  26. Mari Rios- Newcomb

    Soo sad 😭 but you see people speeding pass on that 2 lane road all the time.

  27. Dana Yearta

    Terri LaMont Amsbury coaches from Kaylins soccer club! So sad. Happened just after we were on that road!

  28. Annette Book

    Amy Lynn, this is what we drove by yesterday. So sad!!

  29. Esther Nielesky

    Parker Live Updates , We used to use Rice Road for years and a couple of years ago we started using Mohave Road. Too many people passing and taking chances and endangering other people’s lives. We have seen too many accidents on Rice Road. Please people, be careful on the road. My condolences to the families that lost loved ones..

  30. Samantha Stark

    We saw this Dana 🙁 it was so sad. Praying for their families

  31. Lisa Stolz

    Erin Summit Rose Marquez =(

  32. Greg Parker

    Was it done in a passing zone? We might not ever know.

  33. Dana Yearta

    Yes it’s terrible! We drive that road so often and I pray every time we get on it.

  34. Samantha Stark

    Dana Yearta glad you made it home safe xoxo

  35. Dana Yearta

    You guys too! Wish I would have known you were out there! We drove by The Rio quite a few times!

  36. Samantha Stark

    Dana Yearta I will text you next time we are headed out

  37. Dana Yearta

    Awesome! We are going for a week on 6/16. Rented a house in the Keys for graduation present for Kamryn. She’s bringing 8 girlfriends! Yikes!

  38. Samantha Stark

    That’s going to be fun! We might go out that weekend if we aren’t in big bear jeeping.

  39. Cheryl Rene

    We were on that road exactly one week ago at about the same time. It is dangerous if you aren’t careful. We got home to Havasu about 4:30 or 5. I don’t pass if I can even see another car. It’s hard being behind big motor homes and people pulling boats, but better than being dead!

  40. Pamm Weber-Garrett

    People NEED to slow down in that area. Everyone is always in a big hurry, taking chances, and putting other people in arms way. It’s not worth it people… slow down!

  41. Shandra Percy

    What a tragedy ~ Don’t be in a hurry or so careless !

  42. Mary Shannon Jones

    I was run off that road in 2006 by a kid passing 5 cars at a time. Every year there are deaths. Tragic.

  43. Shawn Patterson

    Im a Parker local..we don’t take our boats on the river on holiday. People come here and loose their brains. Just sayin! So sad.

  44. Desiree Berberet

    Brandon Berberet Jessica Brown

  45. Shawn Patterson

    Mohave rd. Is a much better route!!!

  46. Brian Renn

    Mohave takes me too far out of the way. I love Rice Road.

  47. Ingred Shine

    Soccer coaches from our club. Very sad.

  48. Corinna Vallejos-sweet

    So sorry. I just read about this. Heartbreaking 😢

  49. Lisa Stewart

    Parker Live Updates my family is just wondering why being this about the deadliest hwy in California they don’t build passing lanes every so often

  50. Lisa Stewart

    At least a passing lane every so often

  51. Tony Ayala

    Reports are that they drifted over the line and that they weren’t passing at the time of the crash.

  52. Cynthia Slifka Damoth

    Megan Turner is this what happened yesterday? Did you go this way?

  53. Cynthia Slifka Damoth

    Megan Turner yours sounded just as bad.

  54. Ernie Doyle

    I agree Pamm. Don’t understand the need for speed

  55. Nena Hoernke

    Mike Macias, was this the coach.

  56. Debbie Sorensen Camden

    Me too! I’ll take the longer distance than the stress

  57. Pamela Avila

    So sad. Glad your guys are home safe….❤️❤️💜💜💙💙♥️♥️

  58. Lee Sundheim

    Everybody should learn from this tragic lesson. Don’t pass in no passing zones. Don’t pass unless you can’t see miles ahead of you. Don’t pass without your turn signals and headlights on.. And finally, nobody should be in such a hurry to risk their lives or the lives of other families. My heart breaks for the loss of their family and friends..

  59. Becky Hofstetter

    Oh Michele I’m so sorry 😐 . Ever since the accident with the girls I take that road very seriously

  60. Mark Gehley

    Ron Rice Craig Thomas Ayers

  61. Really sad
    My nephew attends the high school they were coaches at
    I drove home on the 40 yesterday and people are just stupid
    A guy tried to cut into the line of traffic in front of me no room for him
    So he flips us off and gets behind
    Then as he passes he swerves into me real intellegant
    If people can drive as stupid as the can to gain one car length there lives and others on the road obviously do not mean anything
    Very sad situation thoughts and prayers to the family 😞

  62. Ron Rice

    I use Rice Rd ! I watch for my #goFAST Friends an Wave them past an Slow down as thay go on there Way !

  63. Ron Rice

    Krazy ! I’m NEVER in that big of a Hurry ! Doug Silcock

  64. Carol Geary

    Law says do not exceed speed limit when passing!
    This driver may have fallen asleep

  65. Carol Geary

    They won’t!
    What a way to go, terrible!!

  66. Ron Rice

    Also an Observation ! NOT Off Road Racers ! Drunken Sailors !

  67. Kim Murray

    This is awful! I read the parents witnessed the accident. Can’t imagine!

  68. Ron Rice

    Janaye Lynelle ! pass this on to all your friends !

  69. Nicholas Garber

    Be careful out there on Rice Road

  70. Carol Geary

    And the big rig driver has to live with this the rest of his life!
    Outlaw 2 lane roads!!

  71. Tony Ayala, reports that you read were wrong. I passed this accident minutes after it happened while all the commotion was still going on from numbers of people who jumped out their cars to help. The right side of a car does not collide with the right side of a truck from drifting over the line. This was an unsafe pass. Please people slow your roll, you’re not saving much time at all.

  72. Gabby is the cousin to our friend Michelle Perez..we were just with her last year for 4th of July at Parker…

  73. Sam Camarata

    Don’t ever drive that road. Go the longer way and live

  74. Sam Camarata

    10 min to far your crazy

  75. Corrie Provost

    I was right there with you around 9:30 and cars were passing like crazy it was so dangerous…One of the girls that was killed her mom is a 1st teacher at my daughter school 😥🙏🏻

  76. Corrie Provost

    Lori one of the girls that was killed her mom is a teacher at Reagan’s school Callie Kirkpatrick 😥😥 so sad and heartbreaking

  77. Sandra Smiley

    Don’t pass at all!!
    If you’re not going to be patient.. STAY HOME!!

  78. Sandra Smiley

    It isn’t his fault!!!!
    It’s the irresponsibility of the other drivers car for cutting off and going the wrong way!!!
    Yessss OUTLAW 2 lane roads! People aren’t responsible enough to use them!!!!

  79. Carol Geary

    I know he’s not at fault, he still has to live with it tho

  80. John Stephen Lane Sr.

    Sadly this sort of thing will always happen. Folks pass for no other reason because they don’t want to be behind someone. Instead of acting like an adult and chill, they just have to pass. Unfortunately in Arizona on many two lane highways, there are no signs for turning on your headlights. Common sense would suggest people would do this automatically, but they won’t. I have always in my 50 years of driving have turned my headlights on whilst traversing a two laned highway. It won’t stop a driver from acting stupidly as this driver did, but it does at least give other drivers some warning. I have had to slow down on 95 because some idiot just could not wait a few minutes for the passing lane. Is saving a few minutes worth risking your life over?

  81. Lisa Gast Killian

    This is why we stay home on big weekends. So very sad

  82. Sandra Smiley

    My husband, friend and I where on that road at about 12:45pm yesterday on our way home.. I witnessed A LOT of drivers cutting off the road doing the same exact thing that caused this accident. It really makes me upset how people can be so irresponsible for doing this. If you’re not going to be patient on the roads you already know they’re going to be like this DO NOT travel on them! Now you not only caused your family a horrible heartache but those who were with you! Very very heartbreaking… 💔🖤All for rushing… to get nowhere!!!!
    🙏🏼 Prayers for the families of the loved ones! 😪🖤

  83. Jessica Brown

    So scary!!! I can see why it should be avoided.

  84. Brandon Berberet

    Went thru there around 8:30am that day and so did a lot of my friends. That’s so sad! I lost a high school friend to that road.

  85. Sandy Kantor

    So sad and unnecessary. People just need to slow down and not take chances passing.

  86. Robert Rivas

    Bert Sosa this is horrible 😢

  87. Claudia Romero

    my god so sorry.. Its horrible the driver was a coach here in chino hills where i leave so sad..🙏

  88. Lisa Stewart

    Corrie Provost so sad I’m so sorry😢

  89. I feel bad for the big rig driver (:

  90. Shawn Patterson

    Ok. Let me try to answer a ? Why don’t they have a passing lane. Possibly due to our monsoon flooding. Im a Parker resident. I had to drive rice rd 8x a month. I know it well. When the washes run..they go back and try to fix just 2 lanes. Probably dont have $ to consistantly fix four lanes. I agree a passing lane would be great. Wish they would do it. If you love rice rd…you have to respect it’s danger too. Mohave is much faster. No dips, curves. All farm land. Kinda beautiful! Just sayin, from years of living the Parker experience. 🌍

  91. Sophie Gee

    So sad. Nothing else to say. 🙁

  92. It’s just worse on holiday weekends. I drive a truck from Phoenix through Parker to Havasu when I go home. There’s a lot of stupid people out there on those roads. They pass on double yellow lines, they don’t care if they can see they just don’t want to be behind that truck.
    It’s not worth it to be in a hurry because see, those people never made it home.

  93. Diana Griffin Erwin

    That is the one that killed the two Legends coaches.

  94. Brian Renn

    It takes far longer than 10 minutes to make up the difference in time to head west from Blythe to where 177 takes me. That is an hour difference. Who is crazy?

  95. Shawn Patterson

    Accident at least from the map…looks like it was close to Magoos? Which was always a fun place to stop. 23 years of living in Parker. Just holiday sadness.

  96. accident looks like it was near that newer cell tower off the west side of road. that’s an extremely long straight with dips at the beginning & end. it’s deceiving because when traveling south your basically going downhill the whole time & think you can see everything…except the major dips that start out the stretch going north. they very easily will hide the view of a semi. passing on that road is just dangerous with that much traffic. too much going on, too much too watch for after a holiday weekend. the other routes are just as dangerous with that much traffic, i have seen head-on collisions on all of them…95 north to i-40 both sides of river, 95 south to i-10 both sides of river…all tragic, all deadly & most avoidable. rice road is particularly scary because of the pack mentality of passing & the openness of the road, the long stretches. this may not apply here but being a polite driver helps, even though someone’s driving like an idiot, try & back off the guy in front of you. give that driver a chance to save it before going head-on, if possible. i’m talking about tail-gating. i’d say with certainty that some of those drivers knew that a semi was approaching because a low profile car will not see it like a lifted vehicle. a hand out the window, some sort of warning or intentional intervention of a pass would often-times be better than remembering those visions and reliving that drive night after night. its a horrible feeling watching people die & thinking about all the possibilities that could have happened in those last few miles. i am a local & have seen way too much over the years. san bernardino co. will never make this a four lane, neither will riverside co.

  97. Michele Montagne Roe

    I know…so scary. Hope all is well

  98. Parker Live Updates

    Brian Renn- Apple Maps estimates 11 mins difference. Google Maps estimates 10 mins. Mapquest estimates 10 mins also.

  99. Brian Renn

    I have gone both ways, google maps is wrong…sorry. I take personal experience over app calculations.

  100. Larry Nachtmann

    We came through that area just a couple hours earlier!
    I have been going to the River out there for over 30 plus years and i have NEVER seen the driving I saw being done that day!!!
    IT LOOKED LIKE A DAM NAS CAR RACE people going in and out of traffic at 90 plus MPH even with trailer on!!!
    If and yes if we ever go out on this Holiday again i will wait till Tuesday to come home!
    This Incident is just heart breaking😔😔😔

  101. Alexis Cutts

    Ben Steve please be safe driving next weekend. eyes on the road at all times 💕

  102. Anna Chaplin

    No unfortunately that’s absolutely not true because we were behind them and we saw him passing 234 cars at a time. Literally five minutes in front of us the accident happened because he was trying to pass more cars

  103. Terry Jones

    So very sad to hear about this tragedy.

  104. Tony Ayala

    I heard through a couple of people that were on the road that they were passed somewhat carelessly. I have my opinion and I’m trying not to sound too judgemental since I wasn’t there. I will say this though, the driver of the car ruined many lives that day. How ever he ended up in front of an incoming semi, he shouldn’t have been there. Very sad deal for everybody involved.

  105. Jackie Mossel

    Mitigate the risk and don’t pass on Rice Road…. it may add 10 or 15 more minutes to your travels … what a tragedy…

  106. Scott Book

    Tony Ayala drifting over a little would hit the driver side of vehicle and cause a spin. The front of that car shows direct hit. Poor truck driver just working and now has to live with this the rest of his life, even though there was nothing he could have done.

  107. Becky Hofstetter

    We are good 😊 . Let me know if you guys make it out this way

  108. Michele Montagne Roe

    Going to Park Mo abi. For the 4th

  109. Becky Hofstetter

    Ok . I’m not sure 🤔 we will go out on the lake that weekend because it is crowded. Stay in touch maybe we can meet up for lunch and a drink somewhere

  110. Tony Ayala

    I agree Scott. I’m just trying to be a bit pc about my opinion online. I don’t want to hear the backlash of what I really think if I were to share how it reads in my head. 😎

  111. Mike Hernandez

    Can’t imagine the last horrified thoughts of those kids. So sad. Prayers for their surviving friends and families. And for the truck driver, too. Going to be hard to forget it.

  112. Maria Langarica

    So sad… my heart breaks. We stopped going through this way. We now go through Blythe, it’s about a 50 mile difference , you don’t get all the crazy people passing each other. Praying for all the families.

  113. Parker to Indio via Mohave Rd to Ehrenberg az to I-10 = 147 miles
    Parker to Indio via Rice Road = 135 miles

    The road from Parker South thru Reservation farms is easy and much safer to drive than Rice Road. It’s only 12 -13 miles longer to run! Stay off Rice Road! It’s a killer.

    I’m a senior who has run these roads for 51 years. Mileages are legit. Google mileage matches my mileage checks. Brian Renn, your “experience” has failed you this time, son.

    Once again…don’t drive Rice Road on your way back from the River to So Cal. Ask a Parker local how to get on Mohave Road to Ehrenberg.

  114. Larry- Yes. I wasn’t going to argue further with him. But if it takes an extra hour, he’s doing it wrong!

  115. Possibly, we are missing the SIMPLE fact, Pretentious privileged people do NOT have to follow the rules of the road. They must automatically assume 10 miles over the speed limit is normal, not having to fully stop at lights and signs do not apply to them.
    Since PUBLIC rules state, it is unlawful to exceed the speed limit while performing a pass, ESPECIALLY on a holiday weekend, ON a single lane road, occurrences like thinning the human population do to ignorant or unsafe actions will continue to make the news, meanwhile, lessons will not be learned. See you on the 4th…Prayers for the privileged…

  116. Bryan Stroude

    Definitely saves an hour

  117. Bryan Stroude

    I saw this too, I assumed they were passing at the wrong time and head on’ed the semi. the aftermath was horrific.

  118. Parker Live Updates

    Nope. Parker to Indio via Mohave Rd to Ehrenberg, AZ to I-10 = 147 miles. Parker to Indio via Rice Road = 135 miles. 12 miles difference.

  119. Brian Renn

    Try Driving it. 🙂 On Mohave road, there are speed zones of 25 and 35 MPH…slower going…You need to drive it, and cannot go by a map.

  120. Parker Live Updates

    Brian- I’ve been driving it for 18 years! There are two very short 45mph zones (basically one intersection long) and a 35mph zone through the small town of Ehrenberg. The vast majority is 55mph. The 3 big mapping softwares are correct — the difference is less than 15 mins for most people.

  121. Robyn Gaffney

    Gabys parents own a vacation home in Big River and they were on their way home!!! She will be missed here as she was a regular!!!

  122. brian brian brian

    Speed limit on I-10 is also higher so some of the extra 12 miles is made up going 5 miles an hour faster on I-10. Brian, you are correct if you drive the speed limit on i-10/mohave road and 120 on rice road.

  123. Shawn Patterson

    Brian Renn Iv’ been driving both for 23/24 years. As a PARKER resident, I’ve timed it myself. Slowest on Mohave is 20 minutes. I do rely on apps either. Experience is how i personally judge it. Id like to return home alive. Just sayin. Be safe 💦🌎🐴 Have a happy summer.

  124. Brian Renn

    Thank you. Been on that road many times myself as an LHC resident that travels to San Diego. saving myself 20 minutes is well worth it. I always drive safe. It is good to remember how many cars drive it every day safely. Tragic accidents happen every day on every roadway, big or small. For people to be scared to drive or pass on this one, well, you should just never drive on any road i suppose. You also stay safe, and stay wise.

  125. So sad, I love rice road and love to drive by myself, sun roof open and windows down just me and the desert, but then again i go early in the morning when the traffic is not bad, so sad to see all the crosses along the road were people lost their lives, be safe and pass with caution <3

  126. We just drove over the spot where this tragedy happened. Earlier I had posted about drivers being clueless about what the lines in the road actually mean. Now, I’m confused about what happened, as this is a long straightaway with a single broken line and miles of visibility in both directions.

  127. Very sad! Prayers for there families ❤️ 13 years ago this happen to me broke all ribs , internal bleeding and lots of broken bones! Lucky to be alive! 🙏

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