23-year-old San Diego man passes vehicle illegally on State Route 76 colliding with semi truck; four injured in crash

According to the California Highway patrol, a 23-year-old man from San Diego was attempting to illegally pass a vehicle on State Route 76 in Pala Tuesday night when he collided with a semi tractor truck pulling a trailer full of avocados.

CHP spokesman James Bettencourt said 23-year-old Yi Yang of San Diego was driving his 2007 Toyota Tundra pickup eastbound on State Route 76 east of Pankey Road July 2 at 9:02 p.m. when the incident occurred.

Yang, who was traveling at an unknown speed, approached slower traffic and “he decided to attempt to pass the vehicle in front of him,” said Bettencourt.

“He crossed over the double yellow lines and into the opposite lane of travel while in a sharp curve,” explained Bettencourt.

Meanwhile, a 68-year-old man from Murrieta was traveling westbound in a 2008 Peterbilt truck and trailer loaded with avocados. “When he observed the Tundra driving in his lane, he applied his brakes but could not stop prior to the Tundra colliding into the right front of the big rig,” said Bettencourt.

“[Yang] received minor injuries and refused medical treatment at the scene,” he said. “His passenger’s two 23-year-old males, both from San Diego, sustained major injuries (fractures and contusions) and were transported to Palomar Hospital.” One of those was taken by medical helicopter. A 23-year-old female passenger in Yang’s pickup sustained minor injuries and was transported to Palomar Hospital.

Bettencourt said the driver of the big rig “was not injured.”

The roadway was closed for approximately two hours due to the removal of avocados and debris.

“Alcohol or drugs are not a suspected factor in this collision,” said Bettencourt, but the collision remains under investigation.

(Previous story, July 3, 2013)

PALA – Four people sustained injuries when a Toyota pickup collided with a semi on State Route 76 at Rice Canyon Road Tues. night, July 2 shortly after 9 p.m.

An early report indicates that the Toyota pickup was eastbound on State Route 76 when it crossed over the center line and collided with the semi. The semi was pulling a tractor-trailer full of avocados.

It appears that the driver of the semi was not hurt, but four people, presumably in the pickup, were transported for treatment of injuries of varying levels. Some were taken by ground ambulance, and at least one by medical helicopter.

The roadway was closed for over an hour due to removal of debris and cleanup of avocados.

26 Responses to "23-year-old San Diego man passes vehicle illegally on State Route 76 colliding with semi truck; four injured in crash"

  1. Fallbrook Resident   July 3, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    I see this all too often, people take stupid risks to save themselves 30 seconds in transit to their destinations. I myself used to be one of those stupid drivers, but I wised up after too many close calls; now I’m one of those annoying drivers that likes to drive the speed limit (and not be on the friggen phone while driving – as again I see way too many distracted drivers… it’s always the people that think that using the phone in the car doesn’t effect them.) Please be safe on the roads and SLOW DOWN!!! I could care less if you want to endanger your life, but you are ENDANGERING MY LIFE!!!

  2. 76er   July 4, 2013 at 8:16 am

    I drive 76 daily and this does not shock me. Just like Comment#1, I go the speed limit but most people fly by me going 65mph or more.

  3. Lee   July 4, 2013 at 10:58 am

    My dear fellow Fallbrookers, THIS is what happens when our riveting politicians approve and ram a bunch of casinos down a single-lane road PRIOR to first expanding the necessary infrastructure, i.e., the widening of the 76. THIS is the result, folks! You now have a huge increase of traffic without proper roads, etc. supporting all this traffic and these folks.

    But heck, it’s the MONEY that is king. Who cares about the people.

  4. Another Fallbrook Resident   July 4, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    And don’t for get to tell them to back off my tail while your at it. There are some truly dangerous curves out that road!!

  5. Pala Resident   July 4, 2013 at 4:13 pm

    The folks involved were very lucky to have not sustained worse injuries or to have been killed by the stupidity of the Toyota driver. Hopefully this will be a lesson learned for the young man and for his passengers, as well – don’t pass on a double yellow line, let alone on a curve – at night! Not to mention that entire stretch of 76 has postings that it is illegal to pass AT ALL. What an incredibly goofus stunt. Let’s hope he is ticketed and has to pay a hefty fine in addition to bearing the guilt of injuring his friends/passengers. And what a waste of good avocados.

  6. sdp   July 4, 2013 at 10:23 pm

    I was going to the casino that night around 9:45 and I guess they had just closed off the road because I was stuck about 20 cars behind the accident. It was on that very first curve after the 2-lane section from I-15. I guess he wanted to beat out that driver and didn’t realize that curve was coming up and didn’t make it. The avocado truck didn’t tip over. After about 15 minutes the CHP started turning everyone around because it was going to be a long wait. I saw later on the CHP website that they opened one lane after 11PM and both at 12AM.

  7. Joe Naiman   July 5, 2013 at 9:23 am

    I’m not depriving Lee of the right to his opinion, but perhaps some explanation is necessary regarding the approval of casinos without the proper infrastructure. The Highway 76 casinos were allowed to operate gaming devices based on compacts between the tribes and the governor (or his representative); the county (or other local governments) were not given a "seat at the table" until later. A subsequent amendment to the tribal compact agreement policy allowed local governments to become a part of the compacts.

    Additionally, Highway 76 is a state road and not a county highway. This requires CalTrans and/or SANDAG approval for improvements and is not within the county’s scope.

    It should also be known that only the casinos are regulated; the tribes have sovereign land use and if they desired to put solely entertainment facilities without gambling on their tribal land they would be under no obligation to negotiate with state or local governments about impacts.

  8. Wrenchers   July 5, 2013 at 11:12 am

    Thank you Joe.

    May I also add:

    "Big winds often come from empty caves".

  9. grunt   July 5, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    The casinos are regulated by the Tribes – the same ones that own them; the state does not regulate. If the tribal chairman says to the (tribal) commission that something is OK, you can bet that the commission will not stand up to him, those that have have been fired

  10. Preston   July 6, 2013 at 6:47 am

    When a government allows any sector of the population to legally fleece the masses, I would say there is a problem.

  11. Pink   July 6, 2013 at 9:53 am

    The Casino’s are not to blame for the accidents on this stretch of road, the drivers are. Highway 76 has always been the scene of multiple accidents, long before the casinos were even there. The road needs to be straightened and people need to slow down and stop driving while impaired. Perhaps DUI checkpoints along the 76 every weekend would help.

  12. Lee   July 6, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    BEFORE the casinos, fewer cars on the 76, etc., fewer accidents.
    AFTER the casinos, more cars, more accidents.

    Psst, it’s the casinos, silly.

    The existence of the Second Amendment, guns, deaths by guns.
    No Second Amendment, . . . –Oh, what the heck.

    This obvious argument is far too complex for most of this discussion board’s participants.

  13. the 76 nightmare   July 6, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    sorry to pop your bubble Lee but it’s not just the casino rats. they are bad enough, but then there are all the distracted drivers – from the 20-something crowd texting and talking to the laborers driving their pickups and weaving side to side to the construction guys in their big pickups that don’t pay attention where they are going and nearly rear end you if traffic slows down. then throw the crotch rocket kamakazi marines into the mix, passing on the right, passing on the left. highway to hell would be a good description. or is that too complex for you?

  14. Check it out   July 6, 2013 at 11:25 pm

    Here is a riddle for everyone: What does Lee have in common with a bag of hammers?

  15. Preston   July 7, 2013 at 7:28 am

    I wonder if Yi Yang, obviously a betting man, was on his way to the casino.

  16. Lee   July 7, 2013 at 9:32 am

    Before the casinos, rinky-dinky 76, few cars, a few accidents every blue moon.
    After the casinos, same rinky-dinky 76, a lot of cars, a [beep]load of accidents.

    Bear. Forest. Bear poops in the forest.
    Bear. No forest. Bear don’t poop in the forest.


  17. Pink   July 7, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    Lets see. Someones drives into a tree and Lee blames the tree; Someone shoots another person and Lee blames the gun; Someone drinks too much and takes a corner too fast and hits another vehicle head on, and Lee blames a casino. Whatever happened to personal responsibility? Wouldn’t it be nice if parents started teaching their kids that bad behavior has consequences and making it stick? No wonder our country is in such a mess.

  18. Me   July 8, 2013 at 7:52 am

    Wow….Pink & I agree on something….

  19. Pink   July 8, 2013 at 9:39 am

    They must be ice skating in Hades Me. LOL

  20. fallbrook mom   July 8, 2013 at 10:19 am

    What a shame! What about the tractor trailer man, isn’t he going to be compensated? That must have been a very expensive accident.

  21. Comment #11   July 10, 2013 at 4:37 am

    Pink, your solution is to "straighten the road." LOL Sure, go right ahead!

  22. Pink   July 10, 2013 at 11:53 am

    @Comment #21: I said that the road needs to be straightened, especially in certain areas. It also needs to be 4 lanes. When and if that will ever happen is anyone’s guess. What is your solution? closing the casinos? If so then I would throw your logic right back at you: "LOL, sure, go right ahead."

  23. Comment #11   July 11, 2013 at 12:01 am

    At no time, did I say anything, other than LOL, so… LOL and ……….Pink

  24. Seriously??   July 11, 2013 at 7:38 am

    Regarding comment #23: ??? You aren’t making any sense dude. Why is straightening that stretch of the 76 funny? They have been talking about doing just that for years, and I believe that it is still in the planning stages. You have no reason to be rude in your last comment, Pink merely asked what your solution is since you didn’t happen to say, you merely made a comment that didn’t make sense.

  25. Drivers?   July 13, 2013 at 12:14 am

    Yes, I agree with Pink. Drivers are to blame for causing accidents. Who else would you blame? Yes, a no brainer. But, how often do you drive 76? I really don’t see how those hairpin curves, east of 15 can be straightened. The "only" solution here is to slow down and obey the law. This guy would have passed illegally (double yellow line) whether it was a straightaway or a blind curve, like he did! Just fortunate nobody was killed. If it had not been a semi-truck, there may have been fatalities.

    A 23 year old- figures! Complete selfish disregard for anyone else’s safety.

  26. Seriously??   July 13, 2013 at 11:03 am

    They managed to widen the part of Hwy 76 from the 15 approximately 2 miles east by doing some blasting through the (Rosemary’s Mountain) pass and turning it into 4 lines. I understand that they want to widen it to 4 lanes from there to Rainbow Canyon Road by doing some more blasting and grading to continue the 4 lanes as far as possible. Those old dairy buildings will be demolished in the process. Obviously it will never be straight but it can be made a little better and safer. Drivers and Pink are correct, it is the "nut behind the wheel" that is the real problem. I wouldn’t drive that stretch of road at night if you paid me.


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