Authorities have released the name of the man killed when his truck crashed and burst into flames off Highway 101 in Santa Maria Friday as Steven Christopher Aslanidis, 53, of Nipomo.
The California Highway Patrol first received reports at about 11:40 a.m. of a reckless driver who hit the Santa Maria River Bridge.
The driver, identified as Aslanidis, then reportedly continued on before crashing into a tree along the southbound side of the highway near Main Street.
CHP officers were first on the scene and tried to use fire extinguishers to put out the flames before firefighters arrived. One officer tried to pull Aslanidis out of the vehicle, but the smoke was too thick.
He died at the scene.
It’s unclear whether Aslanidis died on impact or as a result of the fire. Autopsy and toxicology reports, which authorities will use to help piece together what happened, could take weeks to be finalized.