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Driver killed when truck plunges off forest road is identified as Aguanga man

By in Press Enterprise on November 29, 2017

By Gail Wesson

The victim of a single-vehicle crash where a pickup truck plunged over the side of a narrow forest road north of Anza and wasn’t found until the next afternoon has been identified as a 28-year-old Aguanga resident.

Joel Rodriguez was found dead at 4:25 p.m. Saturday in a ravine about 2 miles north of Bautista Canyon on a fire road in the far southern portion of the San Bernardino National Forest, according to the Riverside County Coroner’s Office.

The night before, California Highway Patrol Officer Darren Meyer said, Rodriguez was driving a 1999 Ford F-150 on the forest road, following a friend who was driving another vehicle. When the friend reached their destination, he realized Rodriguez wasn’t behind him.

The other driver retraced his route, found no sign of the truck and went home, but returned Saturday with the victim’s girlfriend and found the pickup, Meyer said.

The truck landed about 350 feet down from the road. Rodriguez had been ejected, and the CHP made a preliminary finding that he was not using a seat belt, Meyer said.

The circumstances of the crash remain under investigation, including what time it occurred.

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