Over the weekend, authorities released the name of a former student who was found dead inside a car that apparently crashed off a rural East County road.
The body of 18-year-old Mario Arturo Rodriguez of El Cajon was discovered about 4:10 p.m. Thursday in the driver's seat of a vehicle off the roadway in the 9000 block of Sierra Alta Way, according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office.
The former West Hills High School student graduated from Chaparral Continuation High School in April. He planned to walk with his former classmates in next Thursday, according to Grossmont Union High School District director of public affairs Catherine Martin.
A passer-by reported the vehicle near the intersection of Olde Highway 80 and Lake Jennings Park Road, according to the California Highway Patrol. The 1999 Acura sedan appeared to have smashed into an oak tree before coming to rest in a stand of bamboo and other vegetation, largely concealed from view, CHP public-affairs Officer Brian Pennings said.
The Medical Examiner's Office ruled Rodriguez's death an accident, but it was unclear when the crash happened.
-City News Service contributed to this report