Driver's Attempt to Open Beer Led to Death, Deputies Say

A 25-year-old construction worker was killed early Wednesday in Thousand Oaks because his pickup truck crashed into a 40-foot oak as he tried to open a beer can, Ventura County Sheriff's deputies said.

Scott Douglas Clark of Perris was driving on Newbury Road just west of Kelly Road when his truck veered into the tree, about 12 feet off the road, said Sgt. Bob Johnston.

Clark died of massive chest injuries, Johnston said.

No Witnesses

There were no witnesses to the accident, which occurred about 2 a.m. Deputies were alerted by a passing motorist, who saw Clark pinned behind the wheel of his truck, Johnston said.

Deputies found a partly opened can of beer wedged between his hand and the steering wheel and think Clark was distracted by trying to open the can as he drove, Johnston said.

He said Clark did not have his seat belt buckled. "I believe the seat belt would have saved him," he said.

Tests are pending to determine if Clark was under the influence of drugs or alcohol, he said.

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