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[Updated] Man, 83, Dies After Highway 78 Accident Near Santa Ysabel

A car overturned in the westbound lanes of Highway 78 and a power pole was down across both lanes.

Updated at 7:05 p.m. Jan. 31, 2013

An 83-year-old man died Thurday after the 2005 Dodge Magnum he was driving veered off the road near Santa Ysabel and overturned, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Brian Pennings.

Pennings told Patch that witnesses reported seeing the car drive down Highway 78 east of Old Julian Highway at speeds up to 90-100 mph. After the man tried to make a left hand turn at high speed, his car veered off the road, striking two power poles and severing both of them at the base, said Pennings.

The CHP officer said the car came to rest on its roof and the driver was ejected from the vehicle and suffered fatal injuries.

Contrary to earlier reports of two people being in the accident, Pennings said the 83-year-old man was the sole occupant of the vehicle.

CHP reported the struck power poles were lying across the road, blocking both lanes. Authorities reported that SDG&E was called out to shut down the powerlines and CHP Officer Robert Catano said the two poles will need to be replaced.

Pennings told Patch that there was no evidence of drugs and alcohol, but said authorities were awaiting confirmation from the San Diego Medical Examiner, as well as identification of the victim.

The accident is being investigated, including if the victim was wearing a seat belt, Pennings said.

Thursday's 1 p.m. accident caused a SigAlert and road closure on Highway 78 from Old Julian Highway to Highway 79. CHP sent out an advisory at 2 p.m. for Ramona Unified School District and other commuters that SR 78 will be closed for several hours.

Original Story

Updated at 4:38 p.m. on Jan. 31: Highway 78 is cleared and back open, according to CHP Officer Catano.

Updated at 2:30 p.m. on Jan. 31

California Highway Patrol reported a fatal accident Thursday afternoon on Highway 78, near Santa Ysabel.

CHP Traffic site responded to a call around 1 p.m. after a report of an overturned vehicle in the westbound lane.

CHP reported a downed power pole and two trapped occupants. They also reported a fatality.

CHP Officer Catano told Patch that Cal Fire pronounced one of the occupants dead on scene.

A SigAlert was issued for SR 78 at Old Julian Highway and SR 79 for both eastbound and westbound lanes.

According to CHP, SDG&E was called out to shut down the powerlines on the downed pole. Catano said two poles will need to be replaced.

CHP sent out an advisory at 2 p.m. for Ramona Unified School District and other commuters that SR 78 will be closed for several hours.

Catano told Patch an investigation of the single-car crash is in place. Five CHP units and one supervisor responded to the scene.

Stay tuned with Patch for more details.

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