Old man in Rainbow creek drowning had meth, alcohol in system

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RAINBOW, Calif. – Alcohol and methamphetamine use contributed to the death of a 73-year-old man who was killed along with a 5-year-old boy when the car they were in was swept into the Rainbow creek during a powerful storm two months ago, an autopsy showed.

Roland Eugene Phillips of Fallbrook was found dead near his overturned and sunken vehicle on the edge of Rainbow Creek on the night of Jan. 22. The body of Fallbrook preschooler Phillip Campbell was found in the rural waterway four days later following an extensive search.

Phillips was a close friend of the boy’s family. The official cause of death for both was drowning, but the county Medical Examiner’s Office added contributing conditions of alcohol and methamphetamine use, and hypertensive and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease for Phillips.

The amount of methamphetamine present in Phillips’ system would have likely caused confusion and anxiety, The san Diego Union-Tribune reported.