Tragedy on Freeway for Wedding Couple

TIMES STAFF WRITER

A 28-year-old man on the way to his wedding was struck and killed by a pickup truck in the middle of Interstate 8 near Hotel Circle Wednesday afternoon as he tried to retrieve a hat that had blown off the dashboard of his car, California Highway Patrol officials said.

The man, who was not identified pending notification of relatives, was accompanied by his fiancee. The couple were driving to Stockton to be married Wednesday night, according to Gary Kiger, a CHP communications operator.

According to investigators, the black hat contained a $100 bill, which the man and his fiancee needed to buy gas.

While backing up on the freeway to look for the hat, the man was admonished by a CHP officer not to get out of his car on the freeway.

The man drove his car to Hotel Circle South, and, despite his fiancee's protests, hopped a fence to get back to the stretch of freeway where his hat was. He snatched the hat, and continued to the center divider, where, by coincidence, he saw a second hat, Kiger said.

"He already has his hat, and he decided to go for the other one too," Kiger said. "That was a bad move."

In the middle of the No. 2 lane, the man reached the second hat, dodged one car, then fell into the path of a pickup driven by Ford Silsby, 38, of Darwin, Calif. Silsby was not cited.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene, Kiger said. The fiancee was treated for hysteria by paramedics.

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