The Sheriff/Coroner’s Office will use dental records to positively identify the 41-year-old Grover Beach man who died in a fiery head-on crash that also left a big-rig driver injured.
The Sheriff’s Department notified the man’s family Monday based on the identification in his wallet.
The crash occurred Monday morning on Highway 101 along a stretch of the Cuesta Grade.
According to authorities, the 41-year-old was driving the wrong way — headed southbound toward oncoming northbound traffic about a half-mile north of Stagecoach Road — when the 2010 Chrysler Sebring rental car he was driving hit the semi on the Cuesta Grade.
The truck driver, Jose Hernandez Estrada, 55, of Santa Maria, was taken to Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo with moderate injuries. He was able to escape the truck, which was hauling automotive products, before it was engulfed in flames.
“The big question for us is why he came over to the northbound lanes,” CHP Officer Toby Adrianse said.
A 75-yard break in the median separating the north and southbound lanes could have been where the driver crossed from one side of the highway to the other, said Adrianse, adding that investigators were still not sure that is what happened.
An autopsy is tentatively scheduled for today.
— Tribune staff report