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Medical examiner says heart failure led to deadly Jamul crash

JAMUL, Calif. — The 51-year-old county probation officer who died last week when he crashed while driving home from work in Alpine died of heart failure, not injuries sustained in the wreck, authorities said Tuesday.

Robert Cole was returning home from work Aug. 6 at Camp Barrett, a juvenile corrections facility in Alpine, when he crashed about 6:20 p.m. on Skyline Truck Trail in Jamul, officials from the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office said. Cole was westbound near Lawson Valley Road in a 2008 Acura MDX when the SUV drifted off the shoulder, rolled and struck a dirt embankment.

The county medical examiner’s office said Cole died of natural causes, attributing his death to heart failure caused by high blood pressure.

“It is with great sadness we report the loss of our brother,” the San Diego County Probation Officers Association said in a Facebook post last week.

No other vehicles were involved in the crash, and drugs or alcohol were not a factor, California Highway Patrol officer Kevin Pearlstein said last week. The CHP had hinted that a medical emergency might have caused Cole to crash, and the medical examiner’s office report has confirmed that was the case.