A motorcyclist was killed and another was badly injured Sunday in separate but back-to-back crashes on state Route 78 in Ramona, the California Highway Patrol confirmed.
CHP Officer Travis Garrow said a man was riding a 2020 Honda Dual Sport along westbound SR-78, west of state Route 79, just after 5 p.m. Nearby, another man was riding a 2021 KTM Dual Sport motorcycle. The area is east of Slaughterhouse Road.
For unknown reasons, the man on the Honda veered to the right, off the roadway, and hit a large rock, Garrow said. He was then thrown off the Honda and onto the roadway.
Right after this crash, the motorcyclist on the KTM drove across the yellow center lines and into the eastbound lanes of SR-78, directly onto the path of an oncoming 2003 Ford Focus, Garrow said.
In the Focus was a 71-year-old driver from San Diego and two passengers. The Ford and the KTM collided; that motorcyclist was also thrown from his bike onto the roadway.
Garrow told NBC 7 that when emergency officials arrived at the scene of the crash, they couldn’t figure out which man had been on which motorcycle because they were both in the roadway. That part remained under investigation Monday, Garrow said. Officials hoped witnesses would be able to help them piece that part together.
Garrow said one of the motorcyclists suffered critical injuries and died at the scene. The other man was taken via air ambulance to Palomar Medical Center in Escondido with severe injuries.
The driver of the Ford suffered minor injuries and did not need to be hospitalized. His passengers were not harmed.
The San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office has now identified the motorcyclist who was killed as Matthew Thomas Hutchmacher, 51, of Descanso.
The CHP said both motorcyclists were wearing helmets. The driver of the Ford was wearing a seatbelt.
It is unknown if alcohol or drugs contributed to the crash. The investigation is ongoing and Garrow said anyone with information can call CHP El Cajon’s area office at (619) 401-2000.