Rancho, CA Head On Auto Crash, Mar 1982


Rancho California (AP) - A 7-year-old boy remained in critical condition today from a head-on collision that killed six people in Riverside County's worst traffic accident in eight years.
California Highway Patrol spokesman Bud King said the collision occurred because one of the cars was traveling on the wrong side of the road, but he said it "will take at least a week" to determine which car strayed over the center line and why.
A three-person special investigating team was looking into the cause of the crash, which occurred on a straight, level stretch of road that is not a common accident spot, King said.
Six people were injured in the Friday evening crash that took the lives of four children and two adults.
Investigators will determine if having nine people in one vehicle was a factor in the accident. That car had two adults and two children in the front and one adult and four children in the back, the CHP said.
The other vehicle, a station wagon, carried an adult and two children.
AUSTIN N. CORTEZ, 7, a passenger in the back seat of one car, was listed in critical condition in the pediatric intensive care unit at Riverside General Hospital Sunday night.
One of the drivers, JOHN MICHAEL BRADSHAW, 31, of Redlands, had improved to satisfactory condition by Sunday night and was transferred out of Riverside General's intensive care unit. BRADSHAW'S wife, EVANGELINE, 32, and two children, GREGORY, 4, and EDIE, 7, all riding in the front seat, died.
ANN CORTEZ, an adult in the back seat of his car was discharged from Loma Linda Medical Center Sunday.
The station wagon driver, ROBERT ANTHONY LACAVA, 33, Rancho California, died at the scene. His daughter, LISA LACAVA, 3, died on arrival at Mission Valley Medical Center in Lake Elsinore. Another daughter, CHRISTINA, 6, was in fair condition in intensive care at Loma Linda Sunday night.
A boy in the rear seat of the first car, APOLONE CORTEZ IV, 10, also died at the scene. ANTONIO CORTEZ, 8, was discharged from Fallbrook Hospital Sunday, and ANGELICA CORTEZ, was in stable condition at Mission Valley Medical Center. All are from Temecula.
The CHP said it was the worst accident in Riverside County since January 1974 when 19 people died near Blythe when a bus carrying farm laborers crashed.

Santa Cruz Sentinel California 1982-03-28