UPDATED: Tuesday, May 26, 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., With additional details.
WINCHESTER, Calif. — Authorities say an intoxicated driver with two prior Riverside County DUI arrests was arrested again after causing a deadly, three-vehicle, chain reaction crash that killed a Winchester woman Friday afternoon, May 22.
Superior Court records indicate the alleged suspect, Joshua Asimovic Morris, 34, of Temecula, failed to appear in court for both earlier DUI’s and had warrants related to both incidents at the time of Friday’s deadly crash; which happened at the intersection of Winchester and Thompson roads.
CHP and other emergency personnel were dispatched to the scene just after 4 p.m., CHP Officer Murrieta reported after the fatal collision.
When officials arrived at the scene they found three wrecked vehicles, since described by Murrieta as a 2020 Kia Optima, 2017 Ford Fusion, and 2016 Toyota Corolla.
Paramedics began evaluating and treating the three drivers and a passenger at the scene before rushing the most seriously injured victim to Inland Valley Medical Center, where she later succumbed to her injuries and passed away.
The victim has been identified as Amy Litteral, 43, of Winchester. A coroner’s release indicated she was pronounced deceased by hospital staff at 4:40 p.m.
Amy Litteral, 43, of Winchester, was a single mother and worked as a substance abuse and marriage counselor at Thrive Well Trauma Center in Temecula.
The passenger of the vehicle that caused Friday’s crash was also transported by ground ambulance to Inland Valley Medical Center with injuries Murrieta described as minor.
The intoxicated driver who caused the wreck and the third driver, a 23-year-old San Marcos woman, were not seriously injured in the crash and did not require further medical attention.
During their subsequent investigation, CHP determined Morris was driving a 2020 Kia Optima southbound on Winchester Rd. approaching Thompson Rd. at a high rate of speed just before the collision.
At the same time Litteral was stopped in the left-hand turn lane at the intersection, while waiting for a red turn signal to change to green, according to Murrieta.
As Morris neared the intersection and entered the left-hand turn lane, he failed to brake as he approached the rear of Litteral’s Ford Fusion and plowed into her car at high speed.
The force of the impact pushed Litteral’s Ford into the intersection where it smashed into the Toyota, which had been turning from Max Gillis Rd. onto Winchester Rd.
Officers also learned Morris has had two earlier DUI arrests – first in June, 2017 and again in November, 2018 – and that he had warrants for both earlier incidents when he caused Friday’s fatal crash. They also learned Morris’ license had been suspended due to those earlier arrests and for failing to appear in court.
Based on their investigation, officers arrested Morris and he was later booked into Cois Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta on a variety of felony and misdemeanor charges, including suspicion of murder, gross vehicular manslaughter, two counts of DUI resulting in injury or death, two counts of DUI, driving on a suspended license due to his prior DUIs, and possession of drug paraphernalia.
Online jail records indicate he was also booked on warrant-related charges of failure to appear or pay a fine, two DUIs, driving on a license suspended for one or more prior DUI’s, and hit and run resulting in property damage.
Morris remains in custody in lieu of $1 million bail or bond and is scheduled to be arraigned at Murrieta’s Southwest Justice Center May 28.
Friends and family have since reported to RCNS that Litteral was a single mother and worked as a marriage and family counselor at Thrive Well Trauma Center in Temecula. She reportedly counseled people in drug and alcohol rehab.
At the time of this report, RCNS was still working to confirm that information.
Litteral’s Family and friends have created a GoFundMe account to help raise money for her 11-year-old son, who will now have to grow up without the love and support of his mother.
The fundraising page created by Jennifer Guinn explained, “(Litteral) was an ‘original Temeculan’,” and that she graduated from Margarita Middle School and Temecula Valley High School.
“She had a heart of gold, always wanting to help others,” Guinn continued. “Her passion as a Mental Health Professional shined so bright, helping so many people find peace, find their way in life.”
As of this update, the fundraiser had raised more than $43,000 toward her son’s future.