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Worker Dies When Truck Slides Off Cliff

May 18, 2000|HOLLY J. WOLCOTT

A 28-year-old Santa Maria construction foreman was killed Wednesday when his pickup truck slid 200 feet down a steep hillside and careened off a cliff, the California Highway Patrol reported.

The accident occurred shortly after noon at a construction site on the east side of the Ventura Freeway near Emma Wood State Beach, CHP Officer Dave Webb said.

Armando Pulido had been supervising a job site for a private company hired by the Gas Co. to install piping in the area, authorities said. Pulido, a married father of two, died instantly.

According to Webb, Pulido was driving a 1995, 4-wheel-drive GMC pickup down the mountain toward a backhoe that needed refueling when his vehicle lost traction.

As Pulido approached the backhoe, loose dirt caused the truck to slide, and braking failed to stop the vehicle, Webb said.

"He continued sliding down the hill and then swerved right to miss the backhoe. That caused him to overturn, and then he kept sliding upside down and went over a cliff and landed in a culvert," Webb said.

The construction site is in an area where mudslides have occurred in the past.

Pulido wasn't wearing a seat belt and died from massive head injuries, authorities said. The roof of the truck was caved in by the impact. There were no known witnesses to the crash because other workers at the site were on the other side of the mountain.

A passing motorist spotted the wreckage and called authorities before hiking to the crash site to check on Pulido, who was dead.

Pulido's two brothers, who are working on the same job, arrived on the scene after seeing emergency vehicles.

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