By Leon Worden/SCVNEWS.com
UPDATED 11:00 a.m. Tuesday
An unidentified Palmdale man died Monday night when his tire blew out and his vehicle plunged over the side of the 14 Freeway in the Agua Dulce area.
The crash occurred at 8:25 p.m. when the man was traveling northbound near the 2,000-foot-level sign. According to a report from the investigating California Highway Patrol officer, the left rear tire of his red 2002 Ford Explorer experienced a blowout.
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“The vehicle went out of control and struck the right side guard rail, launched over the guard rail and rolled down the embankment, coming to a rest (in a ravine) approximately 100 feet below the freeway.”
The SUV burst into flames and the driver – its sole occupant – burned to death as the vehicle became fully engulfed. A paramedic pronounced him dead at 8:58 p.m., followed by coroner’s officials at 10:25 p.m.
The vehicle fire spread to a small patch of brush. The Los Angeles County Fire Department issued a full brush response and quickly doused it.
At least one firefighter suffered smoke inhalation while trying to save the driver and had to be transported to a nearby hospital.
A spokesman for the county coroner’s office said the driver’s body was burned beyond recognition. Next of kin haven’t been notified because he has not been positively identified. His age is unknown.