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Driver killed in crash on eastbound SR-78; other crashes prompt delays (CA)


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n Escondido man was killed early Wednesday when his SUV slammed into the back of a disabled semi truck in the center divide of state Route 78 in San Marcos, authorities said.


The truck, which was carrying U.S. mail, had broken down on the shoulder of eastbound state Route 78 west of Twin Oaks Valley Road around 12:15 a.m.


The tractor and 53-foot trailer were partly blocking the left lane, California Highway Patrol Officer Mark Latulippe said.

About 40 minutes later, a witness told dispatchers that a vehicle had crashed into the back of the semi truck. The SUV, a Honda CRV, skidded across the freeway lanes and was hit by a tow truck, Latulippe said.

The Honda’s 34-year-old driver died despite the efforts of medics to save him. The big-rig driver, a 33-year-old man, and the tow truck driver, 31, both from San Diego, were not injured, Latulippe said.


The vehicles and debris were scattered across all the eastbound lanes. The right lane was cleared of wreckage by about 4 a.m. and the remaining lanes reopened around 6 a.m.


Authorities said said investigators are trying answer a number of questions — why the mail hauler stopped on the narrow median, how fast the CRV was going and why its driver hit the big-rig.


Latulippe said the drivers are not suspected of having been under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time.

While CHP officers were handling the investigation of the fatal crash, another crash occurred in the same area on westbound SR-78 around 5:30 a.m.


That crash, which reportedly caused major injuries to a driver, prompted another traffic alert. Shortly before 7 a.m., the westbound lanes also were opened.


Drivers in North County also faced other delays Wednesday morning after a vehicle knocked down a power pole on South Mission Road at state Route 76 in the Bonsall area.




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