SAN DIEGO (CNS/CBS8) - Authorities released the name Tuesday of an 88-year-old man who was struck and killed by an SUV while standing outside his broken-down pickup alongside a La Mesa freeway interchange.
Reynaldo Nava of Coronado pulled his disabled 1994 Toyota truck over on a patch of land separating westbound Interstate 8 and state Route 125 shortly after 3:30 p.m. Monday, according to the county Medical Examiner's Office and California Highway Patrol.
Nava used a nearby call box to summon roadside assistance, then walked back to his vehicle. He was behind it with his back to traffic when the driver of a 2014 Chevrolet Traverse cut across the median without realizing Nava was standing there, CHP public-affairs Officer Kevin Pearlstein said.
"At the time, a young lady visiting from New York was driving on Interstate 8 westbound when at the last minute she decided she needed to take State Route 125. When she did, she crossed the gore point, didn't see the gentleman standing at the back of his pick up truck and struck him and his vehicle. Unfortunately, he succumbed to his injuries," says CHP Officer Kevin Pearlstein.
Medics took the 27-year-old woman to a hospital for an evaluation. It remained unclear Tuesday morning if she would face charges over the fatality, though intoxication was not believed to have been a factor in the crash, Pearlstein said.
CHP wants to remind drivers that it's important to try and move your vehicle to the right shoulder if possible when experiencing car problems.
"The safest thing is to get to the right shoulder. If you cant get to the right shoulder, if you're close to the center and you don't think you're going to make it, just get out of the traffic lance. That’s the number one thing," says Pearlstein.
CHP officer Kevin Pearlstein says each situation is different, but if you can get to a guard rail, that's the best separator.
"I like to be well away from a car, on the other side of a guard rail. Or on the other side of a wall or embankment. Something where I can see vehicles coming at me and I'll be able to take an evasive action if I have to."
Pearlstein also points out that even if you have a popped tire, the safest thing to do is to slowly drive to an exit. He says driving with a popped tire isn't going to damage your rim and that it's important to stay on the shoulder, drive slow, and get off the freeway.