VALLEY CENTER (NEWS 8/CNS) - Three men were killed, another man suffered minor injuries and one person left the scene after a pickup crashed head-on into a tow truck Tuesday morning in Valley Center, authorities said. The fourth person who had been in the pickup was later located by authorities.
The collision occurred shortly before 6:15 a.m. on Valley Center Road between North Lake Wohlford Road and Paradise Creek Lane, California Highway Patrol Officer Mark Latulippe said.
The tow truck was heading northbound on Valley Center Road when a Ford F-150 traveling southbound on Valley Center Road crossed into the northbound lanes for unknown reasons and struck the tow truck head-on, Latulippe said.
Three men in the pickup were pronounced dead at the scene, the officer said. A fourth man, who was sitting in the front passenger seat of the pickup, ran away following the crash, Latulippe said.
Just after 5 p.m., CHP said they located the fourth person. He reportedly told officers he left the scene and went to a relatives house because he didn't have a phone with him.
The three men killed range in age from 25 to 45 years old. Their identities have not been given.
It was unclear if speeding or intoxication played a role in the accident, though authorities found beer cans and bottles that had spilled their contents inside the crumpled pickup truck, Latulippe said. That discovery was inconclusive, since the containers could have burst open during the collision, the spokesman noted.
The tow truck driver was taken to Palomar Medical Center for treatment of minor injuries, Latulippe said.
The northbound and southbound lanes of Valley Center Road were closed at North Lake Wohlford Road, triggering a SigAlert at 6:25 a.m. The road opened just before 1:30 p.m.
????Valley Center Road is open???? pic.twitter.com/myun49mqid— CHP OCEANSIDE AREA (@CHP_Oceanside) February 12, 2019
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