California Highway Patrol officers spent the morning Tuesday searching for the only person inside a white pickup truck to survive a head-on crash in Valley Center.
Three men were killed when the truck veered into oncoming lanes and was struck by a black tow truck on a curvy portion of Valley Center Road near Lilac Road before 6:15 a.m., CHP said.
A fourth man — believed to be sitting in the front passenger’s seat and the only one wearing a seatbelt at the time — took off from the scene of the crash, CHP said.
The tow-truck driver was left with minor injuries and transported to Palomar Medical Center.
The crash was so severe, officers at first could not see the third body and believed only two people were in the truck at the time of the crash, Latulippe said.
CHP said the men may have been on their way to work at the time of the crash but it was not clear why the truck veered into oncoming lanes.
Hours into the investigation, it was still unclear if alcohol was a factor in the crash. Latulippe said the inside of the truck did smell of alcohol when officers arrived but it was possible that beer cans found inside the cab exploded upon impact.
Law enforcement officials spent the morning actively searching for the missing person in the area several miles southwest of Harrah’s Resort and Casino.
CHP Officer Mark Latulippe did not make any guesses as to why the man ran.
Footage of the scene from SkyRanger 7 showed the white truck with a crushed hood dozens of feet from the black tow truck. Debris was strewn across the roadway, which runs against a cliff.
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, local firefighters and CHP all responded to the crash.
Both directions of Valley Center Road were closed to traffic shortly after and a SigAlert was issued, which was expected to last until at least 1 p.m.
Photo Credit: NBC 7/SkyRanger 7
Source: NBC San Diego