Man plunges to death off South Bay overpass after crashing into deer

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SPRING VALLEY, Calif. -- A 44-year-old South Bay man whose car struck and killed a deer on a toll-road overpass near Sweetwater Reservoir early Tuesday lost his own life shortly thereafter when he plunged off the roughly 50-foot- tall bridge.

The crash involving the wild animal on northbound state Route 125 near SR-54 in Spring Valley was reported shortly after 4:30 a.m., according to the California Highway Patrol.

Authorities arrived to find a damaged and unoccupied black 2007 Audi A3 blocking the right-hand lane of the expressway near the remains of the deer, CHP public-affairs Officer Jake Sanchez said.

While looking over the accident scene, a firefighter spotted the driver's body beneath the bridge, in an open area near the northern reaches of Sweetwater Summit Regional Park.

It was unclear how and why the Chula Vista resident, whose name was withheld pending family notification, went over the edge of the span, Sanchez said. Investigators speculated that he might have decided to get off the freeway for safety's sake, not realizing he was on an elevated stretch of road.

Sanchez said he did not know if the man had reported the crash himself or if someone else did, possibly another motorist who happened by.

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