2 Killed, 15 Hurt When Pickup Plunges Into Ditch

<i> Associated Press</i>

Investigators tried to determine Wednesday how a truck packed with laborers careened off a steep, narrow road and into a ditch, killing two men and injuring 15 others.

California Highway Patrol Officer Teri Reese said initial findings indicate that a 16-seat medical shuttle bus, empty except for the driver, rear-ended the pickup.

The laborers, whose identities were not released, were returning to their homes Tuesday evening after a day of picking oranges at a farm in Pauma Valley, Reese said. Dozens of crushed oranges, clothing and fruit-gathering bags littered the road.

Charles Turner, 46, the driver of the Lifeline LIFT shuttle bus, said he was not sure what happened. He suffered a minor neck injury.


“I was coming over the hill and I hit something,” Turner said. “Then I blacked out, and the next thing I knew I ended up down here.”

The laborers were riding in the pickup’s camper shell on a stretch of Valley Center Road near Escondido.

None of the survivors had life-threatening injuries.