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Monday, January 21 , 2019, 6:38 am | Fair 52º


Paso Robles Man Dies When Vehicle Plunges Off Highway 154

Firefighters rappel down 300-foot cliff to recover victim, two dogs

A Paso Robles man was killed Friday when his pickup truck plunged 300 feet off Highway 154 and landed on its roof in a creek bed, authorities said early Saturday. The accident occurred just east of Whitaker’s Curve near Windy Gap on the Santa Barbara side of San Marcos Pass.

The victim was identified early Saturday as George Glisson, 60, of Paso Robles. Also in the vehicle were two dogs, one of which died in the crash. The second dog was uninjured.

The accident happened about 5:30 p.m. in hot, windy conditions. According to the California Highway Patrol, witnesses said the white Ford F-250 pickup was traveling eastbound at 55-60 mph when the truck drifted into the westbound lane as it entered a sweeping right-hand curve. The CHP said Glisson veered back to the right and the vehicle drove off the pavement, through a dirt area and over the steep embankment.

“Witnesses said the vehicle just lost control,” Santa Barbara County Fire Capt. David Sadecki, a department spokesman, told Noozhawk.

County firefighters and a sheriff’s Search and Rescue team had to rappel down the cliff to reach the accident site. Glisson, who was wearing a seatbelt, was pronounced dead at the scene, as was one of the dogs.

The uninjured dog was recovered by rescuers and transported to CARE Animal Hospital by a state Department of Fish and Game officer.

Glisson’s body was recovered from the vehicle about 9:30 p.m., Sadecki said.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation. Late Friday, crews stopped working for safety reasons, and Sadecki said the vehicle recovery will resume Saturday morning.

Three fire engines, a rescue helicopter, Search and Rescue and Los Padres National Forest rangers participated in the recovery.

Firefighters arrived at the scene about 10 minutes after the accident, and authorities closed the highway for an hour. The westbound lane was reopened about 6:30 p.m. but there will be one-way traffic control through the accident area overnight Friday.

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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