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Naval officer dies after driving into a tree

Posted: 9:44 AM, Jan 02, 2016
Updated: 2016-01-02 17:44:27Z

A man who was killed Friday when he drove his compact car off the side of Interstate 5 and smacked into a tree was identified as an active-duty Naval officer.

"The decedent was a 21-year-old single black man who was active duty with the United States Navy," the Medical Examiner said.

The Medical Examiner said the man was driving his Ford Focus northbound on Interstate 5, just south of J Street in Chula Vista when, for an unknown reason, he drove off the right shoulder of the freeway and struck a tree.

"Police and firefighters responded and paramedics on arrival confirmed the death of the man due to obvious trauma," the Medical Examiner said.

The crash was reported about 7 a.m. near the Chula Vista Harbor sign off northbound I-5. Investigators said the car may have been there for hours since the engine was cold and the vehicle was lodged in an area where it was difficult to see.

There were no apparent witnesses to the solo-vehicle crash.

It was unknown whether alcohol was a factor in the deadly crash, the CHP said.

An autopsy on the victim was pending.