BONITA (CNS) - Authorities Wednesday identified the 44-year-old South Bay man whose car struck and killed a deer on a toll-road overpass near Sweetwater Reservoir before he lost his own life shortly thereafter when he plunged off the roughly 50-foot-tall bridge.
Martin Remigius Lapisch of Chula Vista was headed north on state Route 125 near SR-54 in Spring Valley around 4:30 Tuesday morning when his 2007 Audi A3 struck the deer, California Highway Patrol public-affairs Officer Jake Sanchez said.
Another driver called 911 after coming up on the abandoned Audi, which was disabled in the right lane, but there was no immediate sign of the driver, the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office said. CHP officers arrived on scene a short time later to investigate the crash.
While looking over the accident scene, a firefighter spotted the driver's body beneath the bridge, in an open area near the northern reaches of Sweetwater Summit Regional Park, Sanchez said.
Lapisch "apparently jumped over the side of the retaining wall and fell approximately 50 feet into a cement culvert," the Medical Examiner's Office said. He was pronounced dead at the scene due to obvious fatal trauma.
It wasn't clear why Lapisch ended up going over the wall, but investigators speculated that he might have decided to get off the freeway for safety's sake, not realizing he was on an elevated stretch of road, Sanchez said.
Friends and family members said that Lapisch was a German immigrant who became a U.S. citizen about 15 years ago. They said he was a new father to his son, 15-month-old Kenneth, and was apparently headed to Carlsbad on Tuesday morning to work out at a gym near his employer, Aenergia, a company that converts waste into resources for renewable energy.