Car spun, hit tree before killing teen driver

FALLBROOK, Calif. -- A 19-year-old man from Victorville died when the sedan he was driving veered off Interstate 15 and crashed into a tree near Fallbrook, authorities said Monday.

The crash occurred on the northbound I-15, just north of state Route 76 and Pala Mesa Drive, shortly around 12:40 p.m. Sunday, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The driver was behind the wheel of a 2000 Mercury Sable that was traveling in the number one lane in free-flowing traffic when he suddenly veered to the right and lost control of the vehicle for unknown reasons, the CHP reported.

The sedan spun in a clockwise direction and went off the roadway over the asphalt and dirt shoulders, CHP Officer Mark Latulippe said. The driver's side of the vehicle then struck a tree on the right shoulder adjacent to the roadway, he said.

The driver, whose name was withheld pending family notification, was pronounced dead at the scene. His 23-year-old male passenger, also from Victorville, was airlifted to Palomar Hospital with moderate injuries, said North County Fire Protection District Public Information Officer John Choi.

CHP officers temporarily shut down a stretch of the northbound I-15 to allow the medical helicopter to land and carry the injured passenger to the hospital. The lanes were reopened about 1:30 p.m.

Meanwhile, a CHP unit responding to the collision was rear-ended as it approached the crash scene. In a statement, CHP reminded drivers to remain attentive when driving past collision scenes.

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