A man drove his compact car off the side of Interstate 5 in Chula Vista Friday, smacked it into a tree and was killed as it was torn in half, the CHP said.
The crash was reported about 7 a.m. near the Chula Vista Harbor sign off northbound I-5, south of J Street.
"It was a Ford Focus, two-door and it was pretty much torn in half," said CHP Sgt. Brant Lowry who was at the crash scene.
Lowry said there were no signs of braking, or swerving or skid marks.
"The car was totally wrapped around a tree," Lowry said. "It may have been there for awhile before someone spotted the wreck and reported it."
CHP Capt. David Acosta said there were no apparent witnesses to the crash. He said the car, which was in pieces with parts strewn down an embankment, was in a difficult place to see.
"It was a violent crash at a pretty decent rate of speed," Acosta said.
It was unknown whether alcohol was a factor in the deadly crash, the CHP said.
The victim was not immediately identified pending an autopsy and toxicology report to be conducted by the Medical Examiner's office.
The CHP said traffic was light and was not affected by the early-morning New Year's Day crash.
The investigation was continuing and officers asked witnesses to call them at (619) 220-5492.