TUOLUMNE COUNTY — A man died Friday afternoon after rolling his pickup truck several times on Highway 108 near Yosemite Junction, the California Highway Patrol reported.
Traffic was funneled into one lane on the two-lane highway for about an hour as the CHP investigated the solo-vehicle crash, which occurred at about 2 p.m.
Two witnesses estimated the pickup driver was traveling at 75 mph — 20 miles over the posted speed limit — and there are indications the driver may have been intoxicated, said officer Jesse Udovich in the CHP’s Sonora office.
Udovich said officers smelled alcohol on the driver and from inside the cab and found several beer cans in the cab. But he said they can’t say conclusively the driver was intoxicated until the coroner reports come back.
The driver was a 51-year-old resident of Campbell in the Bay Area. His name was not released pending notification of his family.
Udovich said the driver was heading west on Highway 108 about three-quarters to a mile east of Yosemite Junction when the road curved to the left, but the driver drifted off the road’s right-hand shoulder and into the dirt.
He overcorrected to the left, crossed the double-yellow line and nearly hit an oncoming motorist, who avoided the collision. The pickup truck driver then overcorrected to the right, which caused his 1999 Toyota Tacoma to overturn.
"He barrel rolled basically, primarily down the westbound lane," Udovich said.
The Toyota Tacoma came to rest on its roof.
The driver, who was wearing his seat belt, was unconscious when firefighters and CHP officers reached him. He was taken to Sonora Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
"No one else was involved, so we’re very thankful for that," Udovich said.
The CHP closed the highway in both directions for about 10 minutes until a California Department of Transportation crew arrived to set up a traffic control to funnel drivers into one lane past the wreck.
Both lanes were reopened by about 3 p.m.