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Family drives over cliff on SR -76, mom dies in crash

Protesters denounce CHP shooting of Latino man
Posted at 1:16 PM, Aug 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-21 20:12:02-04

PALA, Calif. (KGTV) – An Oceanside woman is dead and a man and 11-year-old are hospitalized after a vehicle was found overturned on an embankment near State Route 76. The family of three, a father, mother and son, were traveling from Palomar Mountain back to their home in Oceanside.

At about 6:13 a.m. Friday, California Highway Patrol received a call from San Diego Sheriff's Department about a vehicle that had veered off the roadway. The driver, a 30-year-old man from Oceanside, said he was unsure of his location and knocked unconscious in the crash, but that he was somewhere along SR-76 between Palomar Mountain and Oceanside. He also was not sure what time they went over the edge, but said they had been driving around 11 p.m. Thursday night, which means they could have been down there for close to eight hours.

Both agencies dispatched crews to find the vehicle and using his cellphone location, were able to find the vehicle just after 6:30 a.m. south of SR-76 near Bodie Blvd. The vehicle, a Subaru carrying, was about 300 feet down a steep embankment near the roadway.

"He wasn’t even sure when the crash happened. He thought he left somewhere around 11 o’clock last night, heading home from Palomar Mountain to Oceanside, so he may have been out there all night," said CHP Public Information Officer Mark Latulippe.

The right-front passenger, a 30-year-old woman, had died from her injuries in the crash. The driver sustained major injuries and was taken to Palomar Medical Center. An 11-year-old male who was in the right rear of the Subaru also received major injuries and was taken to Rady Children's Hospital.

The driver and child are expected to recover.

A small dog was also in the vehicle at the time of the crash. Animal control helped locate the dog after the crash.

Investigators are not sure how long the vehicle had been there. They believe sometime overnight the Subaru was traveling on SR-76 near the Wilderness Gardens Preserve when for unknown reasons it left the roadway and overturned down the embankment. All three victims were ejected during the crash and found either partially or fully outside of the vehicle, CHP says.

The names of those involved in the crash were not released. Investigators do not believe impairment was a factor in the crash and everyone is believed to have been wearing a seatbelt.