A 21-year-old employee of a company contracted by Caltrans to do road work was killed Monday by an out-of-control SUV that struck him as he worked alongside a freeway onramp near the Westfield North County mall.
The victim was working on a sprinkler system in a median next to the entrance to southbound Interstate 15 from South Centre City Parkway in Escondido when the Mitsubishi Montero hit him shortly after 2 p.m., according to the California Highway Patrol.
The vehicle overturned before coming to rest on its roof next to a northbound off-ramp from I-15. Caltrans closed that connector to through traffic to allow for investigation and cleanup.
It was unclear what caused the SUV to careen off the roadway, though investigators suspected the driver, Reginald Grigsby Jr., 31, might have been under the influence of some type of drug. It remained unclear in the late afternoon whether the Oceanside resident might face criminal charges over the wreck, CHP public-affairs Officer Jim Bettencourt said.
The name of the victim, who died at the scene, was withheld pending notification of the Murrieta resident's family.
Medics took the 31-year-old motorist to Palomar Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries.