San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office at the County Operations Center.
San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office at the County Operations Center. Photo by Ken Stone

Authorities Wednesday publicly identified a 55-year-old man who was fatally injured last week when the pickup truck he was driving crashed head-on into a school bus on a Ramona-area roadway.

Carey Rufenacht of Ramona lost control of the 2003 Chevrolet 2500 for unknown reasons while heading south on a curving stretch of Mussey Grade Road shortly after 4 p.m. Friday, according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office and California Highway Patrol.

The truck veered into a northbound lane and collided with an oncoming Ramona Unified School District vehicle with two children riding in it, CHP public-affairs Officer Jared Grieshaber said.

“After the impact, the Chevrolet continued in a southwesterly direction, traveling partially up a small dirt embankment, then back eastbound across both lanes of Mussey Grade Road,” Grieshaber said. “The Chevrolet came to rest partially blocking the northbound lane, trapping the driver inside (it).”

After emergency crews freed Rufenacht from the damaged pickup, paramedics airlifted him to Palomar Hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

The 48-year-old bus driver, also a Ramona resident, was taken to the same Escondido medical center for treatment of minor injuries. Her two juvenile passengers were unhurt, Grieshaber said.

–City News Service