Young driver killed after sheering off light pole in freeway crash

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ENCINITAS, Calif. — An 18-year-old Oceanside man was killed early Monday when his pickup truck rolled over and crashed on Interstate 5 in Encinitas.

The victim hit the brakes for unknown reasons and lost control of his 1992 Nissan pickup truck in the northbound lanes of the 5 Freeway north of Leucadia Boulevard around 3:10 a.m., according to the California Highway Patrol.

The pickup veered off the roadway, struck a dirt embankment, rolled several times and knocked over a light pole. That pole fell onto the windshield of a UPS tractor-trailer travelling on ther freeway, CHP Officer Jim Bettencourt said.

Firefighters cut the pickup truck’s driver out of the wreckage and took him to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, but he later died, Bettencourt said.

The UPS driver, a 49-year-old West Covina man, was treated at the scene for minor injuries, Bettencourt said.

Bettencourt said it remained unclear if drugs or alcohol were factors in the crash.

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  • Bruce

    We heard this accident this morning as we live adjacent to the Freeway. A screech of the tires and the tremendous crash as the vehicle hit the light pole. Luckily, several vehicles stopped and the lines to 911 were already lit up with calls; a cadre of emergency vehicles arrived soon after, but looking at the photo of the vehicle, this young man had little chance of surviving such a horrible crash. Years ago a driver pushed me into one of those light poles at 55 from an offramp and while my vehicle was totaled, the light pole was still intact. I just can’t imagine the impact velocity of this crash. That said, the small pickup trucks have little frontal and quarter protection for driver and passenger, so if you are driving one, please be extra careful. And may this young man rest in peace; a young life taken way too soon.

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