The victim was working on a sprinkler system in a median next to the entrance to southbound Interstate 15 from South Centre City Parkway in Escondido when the Mitsubishi Montero hit him shortly after 2 p.m., according to the California Highway Patrol.
The vehicle overturned before coming to rest on its roof next to a northbound offramp from I-15. Caltrans closed that connector to through traffic to allow for investigation and cleanup.
It was unclear what caused the SUV to careen off the roadway, though investigators suspected the driver might have been under the influence of some type of drug. It remained unclear in the late afternoon whether the Oceanside resident might face criminal charges over the wreck, CHP public-affairs Officer Jim Bettencourt said.
The name of the victim, who died at the scene, was withheld pending notification of the Murrieta resident's family. He was employed by the Pacific Restoration Group out of Perris, Calif., according to Caltrans.
“This is a stark reminder of the dangers of working along the highway. I am asking motorists to limit distractions and drive with care, especially when highway workers are present,” said Caltrans District Director Laurie Berman.
Medics took the 31-year-old motorist to Palomar Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries.