The young man killed in a Highway 17 crash whose wreckage was discovered by authorities Tuesday afternoon Jan. 21 near Alma College Road south of Los Gatos has been identified as Capitola resident Kevin Michael Rocha.
Santa Clara County Coroner's Office said the victim is, indeed, Rocha, 25, who was reported missing by the Capitola Police Department sometime last weekend.
California Highway Patrol officer spokesman Christopher Falkowski said although the agency wasn't 100 percent certain of the man's identity, it was speculating based on the type of vehicle involved in the collision that it was Rocha.
"The crash probably occurred on Sunday, Jan. 19," Falkowski said of the fatal accident that sent Rocha's vehicle plummeting about 100 feet down an embankment while traveling southbound on the highway in a 2005 GMC SUV sports utility car.
"No witnesses have come forward and we can't say for sure it's this young man until the coroner establishes his identity," Falkowski said.
Falkowski said CHP investigators believe Rocha ran off the roadway and succumbed to his injuries. He said the car's registration was from Capitola.
Calls and emails to Capitola Police Det. Sarah Ryan about the missing person alert issued out of that agency were not immediately returned.
"The coroner identifies the body, not us," Falkowski said. "The missing person report matches this vehicle's description. They sent a 'be-on-the-lookout' to allied agencies and in this case there's speculation he was traveling through our area to get home from San Francisco."
Rocha's vehicle was found by a sheriff's deputy who noticed "something of interest" on the side of Highway 17 indicating a car had gone off the roadway, so he stopped and found the vehicle at around 5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21, Falkowski said.
A KSBW.com report said Rocha's vehicle had been found Wednesday and that he had driven to his cousin's house in San Francisco on Sunday to watch the 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks football playoff game.
The report quoted Rocha's uncle, Jerry Ferdum as saying his nephew had been missing since Sunday evening after he left his son Tyler's house in San Francisco and failed to show up for work the next day at his Bay Alarm Field Tech job on Monday, Jan. 20.
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