A California Highway Patrol cruiser. Photo by Chris Stone

Traffic accident investigators Wednesday sought to determine what caused a single-vehicle crash that killed a 72-year-old man and injured his passenger on a rural road in eastern San Diego County.

The motorist lost control of his westbound Chevrolet 1500 pickup on a curving stretch of state Route 78 in Ramona shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The truck veered off the north side of the roadway near Rancho Santa Teresa Drive and tumbled down an embankment, ejecting the driver, CHP public- affairs Officer Travis Garrow said. The man, a Santa Ysabel resident whose name was withheld pending family notification, died at the scene.

The wreck left a 32-year-old passenger in the truck trapped in the wreckage. Firefighters extricated him, and paramedics took him to Palomar Medical Center for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries.

“It is still being investigated whether the driver was wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash,”  Garrow said late Wednesday morning. “It is not believed at this time that alcohol or drugs were a factor in this crash.”

Updated at 12 p.m. Sept. 15, 2021

–City News Service

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