Mother and son killed in DUI crash on I-15

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A car crash on the I-15 in Corona on Friday, April 22, claimed the lives of a mother and son from Canyon Lake. Ashley, who had just celebrated her 27th birthday, was a passenger in the car, along with her 6-year-old son Christopher and 9-year-old daughter Abigail. The driver survived the crash. Abigail survived with only minor injuries and is home with Robbie Austin, Ashley’s husband and father of both children. The family moved to Canyon Lake very recently.

According to a California Highway Patrol news release, at approximately 9:20 p.m., Michael Mason, 58, was driving northbound on the I-15 freeway in Corona, about one half mile north of Magnolia Ave. at a speed estimated to be 60 to 65 mph when he “allowed his vehicle to veer to the left into the center median and drive within a construction area. The left tires of the vehicle traveled off the concrete surface and into a ditch. The GMC collided into steel I-beams, then traveled off the concrete portion of the roadway and overturned into stacks of lumber. The GMC Sierra truck eventually landed on its roof in the construction area for the new 91 toll lanes, according to CHP and Caltrans.”

According to information received, CHP officers and other emergency first responders rushed to the location, where firefighters and paramedics provided life-saving efforts to Ashley and Christopher Austin. Ashley, who was in the right front passenger seat, and Christopher, who was seated in the right rear seat, both succumbed to their injuries and were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.

Paramedics also provided Mason and Abigail medical treatment for their injuries. Abigail, who had been seated in the back left side of the truck, was transported to Riverside County Regional Medical Center for further evaluation and treatment for her minor injuries. Mason was transported to Riverside Community Hospital and treated for moderate injuries.

When he was medically cleared, Mason was arrested. Jail records reveal Mason was booked into the Robert Presley Detention Center for five felony charges related to the fatal accident. His charges included gross vehicular manslaughter, murder with malice, willful harm to a child, driving under the influence and felony DUI causing injury. He is being held without bail.

Robbie’s brother, Ricky, is reaching out to Robbie and Abigail’s community of family and friends to ask for support to pay for the funeral costs and immediate financial burdens they will experience after bereavement. Ricky says, “Thank you for considering making a gift. Whether you are able to donate or not, we ask that you please join us in praying for Ashley and Christopher.”

For anyone wishing to help, a gofundme account has been set up. The money will help pay for memorial services and burials as well as any other financial burden that may arise. Any monies unused will be put into a college fund for Abigail. Please go to https://ww.gofundme.com/Ashley-Christopher.­­

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Donna Kupke