By Trevor Montgomery, Riverside County News Source
HEMET — A local Realtor and long-time Hemet resident, well-known for riding his custom, black and silver Harley-Davidson motorcycle around town sporting signs advertising his Hemet real estate company, was seriously injured after a hit and run driver plowed into the elderly victim’s motorcycle before fleeing the scene. The accident happened early Tuesday night, Apr. 10, at the intersection of Acacia Avenue and Girard Street in Hemet.
When the alleged hit and run driver fled the scene of the accident, he inadvertently led officers straight to his front door when he unwittingly left several key pieces of evidence at the scene, in the form of his entire front bumper as well as front license plate.
Using the man’s license plate and witness statements, officers later tracked Steve Christopher Holt, 44, to his Hemet residence where they interviewed and eventually arrested him.
The victim, Gregory Lance Treadwell, remains hospitalized with serious injuries.
Emergency first responders were dispatched to the scene of the accident about 6:15 p.m., after other motorists and witnesses called 911 to report the collision. Callers told emergency dispatchers that a white Honda Civic coupe had smashed into a motorcyclist before fleeing from the area.
Deputies from Riverside County Sheriff’s Hemet Station arrived within minutes, followed by Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire, American Medical Response and CHP.
When they arrived, officials found several citizens providing aid and comfort to the seriously injured rider, whose wrecked motorcycle lay near a traffic signal pole and tree along the side of Acacia Avenue, just east of Girard Street.
While firefighter/paramedics evaluated and treated Treadwell for multiple traumatic injuries officials began investigating the hit and run. Officers almost immediately discovered the alleged suspect’s white front bumper which was ripped off when Holt allegedly plowed into the motorcycle. Holt’s front license plate was in the intersection nearby.
Officials conducted a records check on the license plate found at the scene and learned the plate was registered to a Honda owned by Holt, whose address was just a mile and a half away. Both the bumper and license plate were later collected as evidence to the hit and run.
Kirk Johnson, who resides in Hemet and witnessed the collision, was one of the very first people to arrive at Treadwell’s side after the hit and run. He later described the horror he experienced when he saw Holt’s Honda smash into Treadwell’s motorcycle.
“I seen (Treadwell) flying after he got hit,” Johnson explained to Hemet Eye News community reporters Eddie George and John Strangis, who live-streamed coverage from the scene.
“It was just…it was horrible,” said Johnson, clearly still shaken by what he had seen.
Johnson explained he was at the intersection waiting for the light to change when the Honda plowed into the back of Treadwell’s Harley-Davidson. The impact sent the motorcycle and rider soaring through the intersection; where both left the roadway, nearly smashing into a traffic signal and tree at the southeast corner of the intersection.
The motorcycle came to rest on top of Treadwell’s body, trapping the elderly victim under the weight of the bike. Johnson later described trying to lift the heavy motorcycle off the victim’s body before first responders began arriving.
After hitting the motorcycle, Johnson said the Honda fled southbound on Girard Street before turning left and heading east on Mayberry Avenue.
According to Johnson, Treadwell was coherent but in a lot of pain when Johnson arrived at the victim’s side. Johnson described a variety of injuries, including Treadwell’s knee, which Johnson described as “mangled up.”
“I was just trying to be a good Samaritan, trying to help the gentleman out,” Johnson explained. “It was just…it was horrible.”
AMR medics eventually transported Treadwell to an area trauma center for further treatment. His current medical condition has not been updated and is not known.
CHP and RSO officials responded to the Mayberry address where they found Holt’s white Honda parked in the driveway of the residence. The vehicle was missing it’s front bumper and front license plate and appeared to have recently been involved in a collision.
Officers interviewed Holt in the front yard of the home, along his damaged Honda and had Holt perform a series of field sobriety tests before arresting him. It was not immediately known if officials determined Holt was under the influence at the time of the collision, but he was later only booked on suspicion of hit and run resulting in great bodily injury.
As officers were handcuffing him, Holt could be heard protesting his arrest, saying, “It was just an accident, bud. I was just on the verge of going back there.”
The only explanation Holt gave for not just remaining at the scene of the crash was, “I was scared.”
While Holt was being handcuffed and driven away to be booked into jail, two residents of the home watched on in disbelief.
Holt remains in custody at Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside. He is being held on $75,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned at an unspecified court, Apr, 13.
On his Facebook, Treadwell – who grew up in Long Beach, Calif., graduating from Milliken High School’s class of 1965 – proudly displayed photographs of his beloved Harley-Davidson with it’s iconic red and white Brubaker Culton signs, with the company’s phone number and address, enticing people to contact him for their realty needs.
According to Treadwell, who described himself as a former owner and “Granny” from Granny’s Pie Parlor he is now enjoying his “newest, last career” as a Realtor.
After hearing of Treadwell’s accident, many area residents wished well-known and popular area resident a speedy recovery. One of those wishing him a fast and full recovery was Johnson, who said, “I hope you get well soon, Greg.”