72-year-old man dies in pickup submerged in a San Mateo County creek

A 72-year-old man found dead inside a submerged pickup truck in rural San Mateo County was identified Sunday as a local resident who likely lost control of his vehicle and careened into a creek.

Terry Smith, of La Honda, was confirmed dead at about 7:45 a.m. after his overturned truck was found in rain-swollen Alpine Creek, according to the San Mateo County coroner’s office.

The vehicle was first spotted off Alpine and Heritage roads, a few miles from La Honda, by a passerby who alerted a San Mateo County Parks ranger. The county fire department and California Highway Patrol were called in to help, according to CHP Officer Art Montiel.

Montiel said no witnesses have come forward, but investigators believe Smith accidentally drove the pickup off the road and over an embankment, causing it to overturn and trap Smith as it sunk into the creek.

“We don’t know if this just happened overnight or whether it’s been there a couple of days,” he said. Investigators “believe it’s a traffic accident.”

It took emergency crews several hours to pull the vehicle out of the water, up the embankment and extricate Smith’s body, Montiel said.

Peter Fimrite is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: pfimrite@sfchronicle.com. Twitter: @pfimrite

This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/72-year-old-man-dies-in-pickup-submerged-in-a-San-13585997.php.

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