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Man killed, child injured in crash involving downed tree on SR-79

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Posted at 8:34 AM, Dec 31, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-31 13:19:04-05

SAN DIEGO (CNS) -- A man was killed and a 7-year-old girl suffered minor injuries Tuesday morning when he crashed his SUV into a tree that had been knocked down by gusty winds northeast of Palomar Mountain, authorities said.

Dispatchers received reports shortly before 5:45 a.m. that a tree had fallen in the middle of the roadway on state Route 79 near Oak Grove Truck Trail in the unincorporated Oak Grove community, California Highway Patrol Officer Jeff Christy said.

Two motorists stopped near the tree, but a man driving a Kia Sorrento northbound on SR-79 failed to notice the downed tree in time and crashed into it, Christy said.

Officers arrived at the scene and found the SUV stuck underneath the tree, which was blocking both directions of the two-lane road, he said.

The SUV driver, a man believed to be in his mid-30s, was pronounced dead at the scene, the officer said. A 7-year-old girl who had been riding in the rear passenger seat was airlifted to Rady Children's Hospital to be evaluated for a complaint of pain.

Investigators determined that neither occupant had been wearing a seatbelt, Christy said, adding that intoxication was not believed to have been a factor in the crash.

A Sig Alert was issued around 6:55 a.m. shutting down both directions of state Route 79.

Wind gusts in the area were around 68 mph when the tree was first reported down in the roadway, according to the National Weather Service.

A wind advisory covering the San Diego County mountains and inland valleys was originally set to expire at 10 a.m. Tuesday, but has been extended until 4 p.m.