By AMY LINDBLOM
Groveland resident Terry Alton Moss, Jr., 64, died Tuesday afternoon when his pickup veered off Highway 120 south of Chinese Camp and struck a tree.
California Highway Patrol Officer Mike Buller said Moss died instantly, but the crash is under investigation because it is not clear why Moss' truck left the road.
"There was no evasive action, no skid marks and apparently no witnesses," Buller said.
According to the Highway Patrol, Moss was driving east on Highway 120 about 2:15 p.m., when he went off the right shoulder, down an embankment, through a barbed-wire fence and into a large oak tree.
The impact crushed the cab of Moss' 2002 truck. A limb from the tree went through the windshield and into Moss' chest. Firefighters called to the scene had to use the jaws of life to remove the body from the truck cab.
Buller said there will be an investigation into reasons for the crash. A heart attack or stroke are suspected.
After the accident, Caltrans employees working nearby and firefighters at the scene repaired the barbed-wire fence torn down by the truck.
There was little delay in traffic as all emergency vehicles were parked off both the east and west shoulders of the road.