The California Highway patrol is seeking witnesses to Sunday’s fiery crash on SR-76 that ended with a motorcyclist becoming badly burned.
Martin Davidoff, 60, of Wildomar, was traveling eastbound on SR-76 on his 2002 Yamaha Motorcycle, when for unknown reasons he collided into the rear of a 2008 Chevy Colorado pickup truck that was stopped on eastbound SR-76, west of Magee Road near Pala Casino.
CHP public affairs officer Eric Newbury said the gas tank of the motorcycle ruptured and sprayed fuel onto the roadway and onto Davidoff, which then ignited into flames and engulfed Davidoff and the motorcycle.
Shortly after the crash, citizens helped pull Davidoff from underneath his motorcycle and a Pala Tribal Law Enforcement officer also aided Davidoff as he used a fire extinguisher to put out the flames.
Mercy Air transported Davidoff to UCSD Burn Center for major trauma and burns to the majority of his body, according to officials
“We need the people who saw the collision take place,” Newbury said, and added that there were witnesses of the crash who left the scene before investigators could question them about details of the crash.
The CHP is investigating the crash, and alcohol or drugs are not suspected factors in the incident.
But Newbury called the crash bizarre because it’s not very common for a gas tank to rupture then ignite right away.
He said a tank would start to smoke first, and then burn if there was enough fuel. He said in his 12 years of service as a CHP officer that he had never heard of a fire happening, such as the one in this case.
Parts of Davidoff’s body were severely burned and when questioned on how Davidoff was doing, Newbury said that it “doesn’t look good.”
The driver or the Chevy, Elizabeth Osuna, 33, of Santa Ysabel, was not injured in the crash, according to officials.
Witnesses are asked to call the Oceanside area office with any information they have on this collision: (760) 757-1675.
Hwy 76 opens in Pala, motorcylist airlifted to UCSD Medical Center
UPDATE: The motorcyclist who suffered burns when his bike collided with a turck and caught fire on Highway 76 in Pala today was airlifted to the burn unit at UCSD Medical Center, according to Mike Mohler at Cal Fire. It appears that the closure is being lifted and 76 is reopening to traffic as of 3:15 pm.
PALA - At 1:43 pm today Highway 76 had been completely closed in Pala because of a collision that resulted in a burn injury to a motorcyclist, according to the California Highway Patrol. At about 1:29 pm today the accident between a motorcycle and a truck caused the closure. Apparently the motorcycle was fully engulfed, the rider suffered burn injuries, and a medical helicopter responded as well as mulitiple agencies. The accident appears to have happened east of Pala Casino.
There is no information available as to when the road will reopen.
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