UPDATE, JULY 29, 12:34 P.M.: 39-year-old Constantino Monterrosas Gamez of Santa Ana pleaded not guilty in Riverside County Superior Court Thursday to setting his girlfriend on fire as he drove his pickup down 1-15 near Corona.
The California Highway Patrol had originally indicated the 23-year-old victim is Gamez's wife.
She, by the way, is making a remarkable recovery from the burns and injuries she suffered after being lit on fire and jumping out of the truck speeding at 65 to 70 mph.
"She jumped from the moving vehicle and fell onto the roadway," CHP Officer Sylvia Vargas reportedly tells My Valley News. "Thankfully, she was not struck by any other vehicles."
Vargas added that the woman, whose name has not been released, is expected to make a full recovery.
Meanwhile, her (hopefully former) man remains at the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning in lieu of $1 million bail. Judge John Molloy, who appointed Gamez a public defender, set Aug. 8 as the date of a felony settlement conference in the case.
Gamez faces more than 20 years in state prison if he is convicted of the charges pending against him: attempted murder, false imprisonment and making criminal threats with a sentencing enhancement alleging great bodily injury.
That same day, a Santa Ana man allegedly punctuated a spat with his
spouse girlfriend by dousing her in gasoline and setting her on fire--as they zipped along the Interstate 15 at speeds of 65 to 70 mph in his pickup!
Constantino Monterrosas Gamez, 39, and his 23-year-old
wife g.f. were heading south on the I-15 in his 2002 Chevrolet S-10 pickup when they got into some kind of dispute. Just north of Temescal Canyon Road in Corona, Gamez is accused of dousing the Mrs. woman with gasoline and flicking a cigarette lighter to torch her.
As the pickup continued speeding at 65 to 70 mph, she opened the door and jumped. Gamez continued heading south for a short stretch before losing control of the truck and slamming into the back of a garbage truck.
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Neither Gamez nor the garbage truck driver were hurt, but Gamez's
wife main squeeze obviously suffered injuries from being burned and slamming into the pavement.
Amazingly, she is expected to recover, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Gamez was arrested at the scene by CHP officers and booked into the Presley Detention Center in Riverside on suspicion of attempted murder, domestic violence, kidnapping, false imprisonment and making criminal threats. Bail was set at $1 million.
The CHP is asking anyone who witnessed the incident to call investigators Daniel Perez and William Bozyk at 951.637.8000.