CHP said his SUV landed 300 feet below road in Cuyama River

The driver of an SUV was killed early Friday morning when his vehicle plunged down a steep embankment on Highway 166 west of New Cuyama.

The victim has been identified only as a male and the Isuzu Trooper he was driving was registered out of Lompoc, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The crash occurred about 6:30 a.m. near Rock Front Ranch, about 35 miles east of Santa Maria.

The CHP said the victim was westbound on the highway at an unknown rate of speed when he failed to negotiate a lefthand curve.

The vehicle drifted into loose gravel at the road's edge and the driver lost control when he overcorrected.

The SUV then crashed through a guardrail and "catapulted" down the embankment, coming to rest 300 feet below the roadway in the Cuyama River bed, according to the CHP.

The victim was wearing safety restraints but was killed in the crash.

Santa Barbara County firefighters extricated the victim and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Search and rescue team responded to assist with retrieving the victim.