Authorities ID man who died after jumping off bridge to avoid crash in Pine Valley

February 7, 2019

PINE VALLEY – Authorities have identified a 48-year-old good Samaritan who was fatally injured when he jumped over a bridge railing in an attempt to avoid oncoming vehicles after getting out of his car to help a disabled motorist on Interstate 8 just west of Pine Valley.

Robert Verlin Bruno Jr. of Jacumba had stopped to assist a 32-year-old man whose Ford F-150 crashed shortly before 5:15 a.m. Wednesday, according to information from the California Highway Patrol and the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office.

The Ford driver lost control of the pickup truck amid icy and foggy conditions on westbound I-8, and the vehicle was blocking the left lane, CHP Officer Travis Garrow said.

Bruno stopped his Subaru Outback behind the pickup and got out to assist the driver, then moments later a 33-year-old man driving a Chevrolet Silverado 1500 pickup westbound on I-8 slowed as he was approaching the crash scene and began merging into the right lane to avoid it, Garrow said.

As the pickup slowed, it was struck from behind by a 24-year-old man driving a Kia Sorento on westbound I-8, Garrow said, adding that a 40-year-old man driving a Honda Civic behind the Kia struck it from behind and caused it to collide into the pickup a second time.

Bruno spotted the oncoming vehicles and witnesses saw him jump over the bridge guard rail in order to avoid being struck, the Medical Examiner’s Office reported.

A paramedic hiked down to the Pine Valley Creek and pronounced Bruno dead at the scene.