2 fatal accidents blamed on wet roads, no seat belts - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

2 fatal accidents blamed on wet roads, no seat belts

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Two people, both not wearing seat belts, were killed in separate crashes at freeway interchanges along rain soaked Interstate 8 in Mission Valley and La Mesa Saturday, CHP officers said.

A taxi driver was killed in a single-vehicle crash on the Route 163 connector to the 8 Freeway, and a truck's passenger was killed less than two hours later in a single- vehicle crash on the 8 at Route 125. High speed on wet ramps, and failure to fasten up, were blamed for both fatalities.

CHP Officer Brian Pennings said that although California had a 97 percent seat belt compliance rating -- the best in the country -- unrestrained occupants accounted for more than half of those killed in traffic crashes.

"About 3 percent of our people are in 50 percent of our fatalities," Pennings said.

The first crash that involved an unrestrained occupant was at 6:04 a.m. on a rain-soaked curve on the transition ramp from northbound state Route 163 to eastbound Interstate 8.

The Dollar Cab's 36-year-old driver was speeding and lost control while taxiing a 52-year-old Oxnard man during the downpour. The cab went off the right side of the roadway and its passenger side struck a concrete wall, a CHP dispatcher said.

The driver was ejected. He sustained a fatal head injury and died at the scene, the dispatcher said.

The passenger, who was wearing a seatbelt, complained of minor head pain, but it was unclear if he was taken to a hospital.

The second crash was reported about 7:45 a.m. along curving road linking westbound Interstate 8 to southbound state Route 125 in La Mesa, the dispatcher said. There, a 2000 GMC box truck's driver, a 32-year-old San Diego man, lost control due to his unsafe speed in the wet, rainy conditions.

The truck struck a raised concrete wall on the shoulder, bounced and was propelled across both lanes. It smashed into the concrete wall on the left side.

An unrestrained passenger went through the windshield and over a freeway bridge railing. He fell from the transition and onto southbound state Route 125, the dispatcher said. That would be a fall of an estimated 30 feet.

The passenger was declared dead at the scene. He was also 32 years old and from San Diego.

The driver was treated for minor injuries, the dispatcher said.

THIS IS AN UPDATED STORY. READ BELOW FOR AN EARLIER REPORT.

LA MESA (CNS) - A passenger in a truck was not wearing his seatbelt, went through a windshield and over a freeway bridge railing and was killed as a truck crashed on a wet and curving freeway overpass in La Mesa Saturday, CHP officers said.

The passenger fell from the transition road linking westbound Interstate 8 to southbound state Route 125 in a rainstorm at about 7:45 a.m. Saturday, CHP officers said. The driver was treated for minor injuries.

The 2000 GMC box truck's driver, a 32-year-old San Diego man, allegedly lost control due to his unsafe speed in the wet, rainy conditions and the truck struck a raised concrete wall on the shoulder along the roadway, the dispatcher said.

The force of the impact then propelled the vehicle across both lanes and head-on into the concrete wall on the other side, the dispatcher said.

The passenger was thrown through the windshield and onto southbound state Route 125 -- several feet below, the dispatcher said.

The passenger was declared dead at the scene. He was also 32 years old and from San Diego, but his name was not immediately released.

The driver was taken to a hospital to be treated for minor injuries, the dispatcher said.

The crash had blocked lanes on southbound Route 125 and the connector overpass was temporarily closed, the CHP reported.

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