Fatal rollover crash closes SR-76 in Pauma Valley

A fatal big-rig crash prompted an hours-long closure of state Route 76 in Pauma Valley on Thursday, a California Highway Patrol officer said.

The driver was headed west in a 2005 Peterbilt tractor towing a flatbed trailer loaded with bags of landscaping mulch about 8:10 a.m. when he lost control in a curve, went down an embankment and overturned, CHP Officer Kevin Smale said.

Investigators believe the driver was traveling too fast for the downhill stretch of SR-76 near Rincon Ranch Road.

Emergency crews were able to pull out a 55-year-old passenger from the semi-truck. He was taken to a hospital with minor injuries. The 54-year-old driver died in the crash.

Both men were Indio residents.

SR-76 was closed in both directions until about 3:10 p.m.

Local casinos were notified of the road closure, since it was expected to last a couple of hours.

gary.warth@sduniontribune.com

Twitter: @GaryWarthUT

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