Terri Marks said she has heard car tires screeching several times over the years as motorists try to avoid hitting burros crossing Reche Canyon Road in front of her Colton home.

The latest incident occurred Thursday night and resulted in the death of a 21-year-old Rialto woman. Marks said she takes it as a signal that the road should be patrolled more often, but shouldn't be widened as planned by transportation officials because that would allow faster traffic.

Saroeutrh Phim, 21, died at the scene of the accident about 11 p.m. Thursday north of Moreno Valley, said Maribel Solorio of the Riverside County coroner's office.

The force of the crash "tore the hood off" of the 1996 Honda Civic, said Officer Taylor Cooper, a California Highway Patrol spokesman. The animal collided with the passenger's side of the northbound sedan, driven by Thane Lach, 20, of Moreno Valley.

"The windshield was shattered, and you had damage to the roof of the vehicle," Cooper said.

"You take a large animal that's (maybe) 1,000 pounds, and it goes partially through the windshield ... with the impact and the force and the size of the animal, that's a recipe for disaster," Cooper said.

The driver told authorities he was traveling about 45 mph, and that two burros came from the east -- crossing the road in front of the passenger side first, Cooper said. The driver was able to swerve around one of the animals but couldn't avoid the other.

Burros commonly roam the northern part of Moreno Valley near Reche Canyon Road.

"A lot of commuters are affected because they use the canyon to go back and forth up to San Bernardino," said Linda Wieczorek, director of the city Department of Animal Services. "The canyon is a major thoroughfare, even though it's only two lanes."

Sometimes herds of 25 to 30 wild burros are seen at one time. They feed on vegetation in the hills and often cross the roads as part of their normal migration path, she said.

The CHP receives a few calls each year about burros being hit in the roadway, and signs along the road warn motorists about their presence, Cooper said.

Wild burros are a protected species under federal law and are monitored by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, said Thomas Miller, director of the Riverside County Department of Animal Services, which sent a private disposal and rendering company to remove the burro killed in Thursday's collision.

Last month Colton, Moreno Valley and Riverside and San Bernardino counties announced their intent to realign that stretch of road after a study reported it is unsafe in some areas because of sharp curves, poor lighting and high volumes of traffic.

The proposed $50 million project, however, is opposed by residents who say any realignment or widening will make the road even less safe because it will allow cars to travel faster.

As it is, vehicles exceed the 45 to 55 mph speed limit and put themselves, the wildlife and horse riders in danger, resident Sandi Resheske said.

The residents' first preference would be a new road somewhere else to alleviate congestion, but under-crossings for wildlife and horse riders along Reche Canyon Road would be acceptable, Resheske said.

"The area where the accident (that killed the Rialto woman) occurred is a major wildlife and burro crossing, and if there would have been an under-crossing or fencing along that straightaway, that accident would have been prevented," Resheske said.

"Human fatalities are rare when you hit a donkey, but I would say at least once a month there is an animal hit, so we need to do something."

The next phase of the road realignment and widening project will focus on environmental studies that will include the burros, said Ed Studor, administrative manager for the Riverside County Transportation Department.

Under-crossings and fencing will be reviewed after studying the impact of the burros, Studor said.

"The (burros) do wander onto the road and have been hit from time to time, (but) you talk to some residents and they make it sound like they are cleaning up dead burros all the time, and that isn't the case," Studor said.

One solution that needs to be explored is pushing Loma Linda and Redlands to build their own road to help ease the traffic on Reche Canyon Road, said Colton Councilman John Mitchell.

"They generate the traffic, they have the hospital and university, they need to step up and do something," Mitchell said.

Reche Canyon Road residents are organizing a demonstration for 4 to 6 p.m. Friday where the Rialto woman was killed to make motorists aware of the burros and the danger of speeding.