Motorcyclist dies in head-on crash near Mountain Center

MOUNTAIN CENTER, Calif. - A 40-year-old motorcyclist was fatally injured in a head-on crash just north of Mountain Center, authorities said.

The victim, identified as 40-year-old Banning resident Thai Yang, was killed shortly before 1 p.m. Wednesday on state Route 243, roughly a mile north of Highway 74, along the boundaries of the San Bernardino National Forest, the California Highway Patrol said.

Officer Darren Meyer said Yang was on a 2009 Yamaha headed southbound on 243 when he failed to negotiate a "sweeping right-hand curve in the roadway'' and ended up crossing into oncoming traffic.   

Vincent Brooks, 26, of Mountain Center, was in a Ford F-150 pickup going northbound on 243 and encountered the motorcyclist in his lane but had no time to maneuver, impacting the bike at an unknown speed, Meyer said.

He said Yang was hurled onto the highway, suffering catastrophic injuries. He was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics. Brooks was not hurt.   

According to Meyer, Yang was helmeted but was not licensed to drive a motorcycle.

An autopsy was pending to determine if alcohol or drugs played a part in the crash.

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