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Man dies in fiery crash on Highway 111

June 29, 2001|By DARREN SIMON, Staff Writer

IMPERIAL — A fiery crash between a pickup and tractor-trailer rig Thursday left one man dead and closed Highway 111 east of here for three hours.

The crash occurred about 11:20 p.m. south of Worthington Road.

The pickup driver, whose identity had not been released as of this morning, died at the scene. There were no other injuries reported.

County Coroner Investigator Gary Hayes said he was unsure if the man died as a result of the crash or the fire that engulfed the pickup.

The California Highway Patrol reported the man was driving his pickup north on the highway when he attempted to cross the double yellow lines into the southbound lanes.

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Hayes said he thinks the pickup driver was attempting to pass another tractor-trailer rig when he crossed the double yellow lines but the Highway Patrol could not confirm that this morning.

As he crossed the yellow lines, the pickup driver moved into the path of a tractor-trailer rig driven by Richard Rivera, 36, of Lansing, Mich.

The vehicles collided head-on and the pickup came to rest on the east shoulder of the highway. It then became engulfed in flames.

The rig came to rest on the west shoulder and was blocking the southbound lanes.

Hayes said witnesses tried to put out the fire with fire extinguishers but were unable to do so. Highway Patrol officers also tried to put out the fire.

The county Fire Department was called to extinguish the blaze. Highway Patrol officials said they had to close the highway for three hours to remove the vehicles and clean diesel fuel from the roadway.

The accident remained under investigation today.

Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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