By Leon Worden/SCVNews.com
A 50-year-old Fillmore man might be alive today if he’d been wearing his seat belt.
James Lacotts died and his passenger was hospitalized around midnight when Lacotts’ pickup truck ran off the road and smashed into a bridge in the small community of Piru, just west of the Los Angeles-Ventura county border.
The California Highway Patrol has not yet identified Lacotts’ 19-year-old male passenger, also from Fillmore. The passenger was transported to Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital in Valencia with moderate injuries.
According to the CHP report, the crash occurred on Pacific Avenue north of State Route 126 in Piru. Lacotts veered to the right in his 2006 Toyota Tacoma and careened into a drainage ditch, slamming into a cement bridge retaining wall.
“It appears that neither of the occupants of the vehicle were wearing a safety belt at the time of the collision,” the report states. “It also appears that alcohol may have played a factor in the collision.”
Lacotts was pronounced dead at the scene. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.
The Ventura County Star is reporting that Lacotts was cited for drunk driving last month and was scheduled to appear in court next week. The Star says he was previously cited twice for failure to wear a seat belt, among other infractions.