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Motorist Kills Self After Crash

November 22, 1999

OJAI, Calif. (AP) _ Standing near the bodies of two friends killed when he lost control of a pickup truck and sent it over a cliff, a man held a gun to his head, warned a forest ranger away and committed suicide.

Gary Sears, 37, shot himself in the head 10 feet away from the wreckage, Ventura County Sheriff’s Sgt. Tim Lorenzen said. Alcohol was believed to be a factor in the Saturday night crash, he said.

Sears lost control of a friend’s pickup, sending it off a 50 foot cliff along Highway 33.

The impact killed Debra Lynch, 37, and Judy Villegas, 26, who were riding in the back seat of the extended cab pickup. They weren’t wearing seat belts. The husband of one of the women was critically hurt.

After the crash, Sears got out of the truck, suffering two broken ribs.

A ranger saw Sears holding a weapon to his head, investigators said. Sears told the unarmed ranger to get away, so the ranger left and called for help, deputies said.

Sears’ body, with a gunshot to the head, was found a short time later, near the wrecked truck containing the bodies of his friends.

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