Death of driver who plunged off cliff in Angeles National Forest is ruled a suicide

A man who died after he drove his car off a cliff in Angeles National Forest on Thursday was depressed and intoxicated, according to authorities, who ruled his death a suicide.

The unidentified driver's girlfriend called police shortly after 1 p.m. because she said she was concerned for his safety, said Lt. Jake Bushey of the Azusa Police Department. At the time, she was following her boyfriend's vehicle in another car.

Police responded and tried to pull the man's vehicle over, but he did not stop and led them on a short pursuit out of the Azusa city limits and into the national forest. The entire pursuit lasted about 10 minutes, Bushey said.

Officers did not use any pursuit tactics to try to stop the vehicle, as they determined the driver did not pose an immediate danger to the public. But as he continued on Highway 39, the driver suddenly accelerated toward a berm at about 60 mph, Bushey said.

The vehicle then plunged about 350 feet to the bottom of the canyon, Bushey said.

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Emergency crews responded at 1:30 p.m. to San Gabriel Canyon Road around mile marker 19.9 to assist police and rescue the driver, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

The man's vehicle landed about 10 yards from a stream, according to authorities. Eight emergency responders were lowered to the bottom of the canyon but found the driver was dead, the Fire Department said.

His body was lifted from the canyon. The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner did not immediately release his name.

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.