A Santa Clarita man who was found dead last week after his van went off the road and hit a tree may have been murdered, according to investigators probing the man’s death.
Patrick Michael Weber, 41, was found dead inside his white 2014 Sprinter van shortly after 7 a.m. Thursday off the roadway on State Route 20, west of Walker Ridge Road.
“We are investigating the possibility there was foul play, possibly a homicide,” Officer Joel Skeen of the California Highway Patrol in Clear Lake said Tuesday.
CHP investigators began looking at the crash as possibly more than a solo vehicle traffic collision when they spotted red paint transfer marks to the driver’s side of the vehicle.
When asked about motive, Skeen said: “We’re looking into a number of different scenarios.”
“We’re keeping our investigation in a wide mode,” he said.
One aspect of the police probe is expected to focus on Weber’s business, he added.
Elizabeth Larson, editor of The Lake County News, reported in the newspaper that Weber
worked in the cannabis industry.
The CHP learned of the fatal crash when a passing motorist called 911 to report a white Sprinter van that ran off the roadway on State Route 20.
“Evidence discovered during the autopsy led investigators to believe Weber’s death may have been an intentional act,” CHP Investigating Officer J. Hoberg wrote in his report.
According to Hoberg: “The vehicle traveled south of the highway and collided into a tree. They approached the vehicle and discovered a sole male occupant, later identified as Patrick Weber, who was deceased in the driver’s seat.”
When CHP officers took a closer look, they found red paint transfer marks to the driver’s side of the vehicle, “raising suspicion that this could be a hit-and-run collision or possibly an intentional act.
“Due to the damage to the vehicle, the cause of death was not immediately apparent.”
Officers notified their chain of command and requested a Lake County Sheriff’s Office response to the scene.
Members of the CHP’s Northern Division Multidisciplinary Accident Investigation Team were also called in to investigate the crash.
Weber was taken to Chapel of the Lakes Mortuary, where the autopsy was conducted immediately.
A joint effort between the CHP’s Clear Lake area office, their Northern Division Investigation Service Unit, Northern Division MAIT, with the assistance of the Lake County Sheriff’s Major Crimes Investigation unit, are conducting an extensive investigation into the incident.
At this point of the investigation, it is unclear what time the crash occurred.
Anyone with information regarding the incident or Weber’s whereabouts in the days leading up to the incident can contact the CHP at 707-467-4000, or during business hours contact the Clear Lake CHP Office at 707-279-0103