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Three killed in fiery solo SUV crash on State Route 78 in Oceanside

OCEANSIDE — Two men and a woman were killed when an SUV veered off state Route 78 near El Camino Country Club, crashed into a signal pole and caught fire, authorities said today.

The crash happened shortly after 2 p.m. Thursday on westbound SR-78 near El Camino Real, California Highway Patrol spokesman Mark Latulippe said.

A 43-year-old Escondido man was driving a Mitsubishi Outlander on the westbound freeway when, for unknown reasons, the SUV veered off the roadway, went down an embankment, then struck a fence and a signal light pole at the northwest corner of Vista Way and Valley Glen Drive, Latulippe said.

A CHP officer nearby immediately responded to the crash, but arrived to find the SUV ablaze with all three occupants trapped inside, he said.

Firefighters arrived and extinguished the flames, but the driver, a 56-year-old Escondido man in the front passenger seat and an unidentified woman sitting behind the driver were pronounced dead at the scene, Latulippe said. The victims’ names were withheld pending family notification.

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