SAN DIEGO The driver of a truck that plunged into a crowded festival Saturday, killing four and injuring nine, has been arrested on a charge of driving under the influence, causing injury or death, authorities said, reports CBS affiliate KFMB.
The truck plunged 60 feet off the Coronado Bridge and landed in Chicano Park, according to California Highway Patrol spokesman Jake Sanchez.
The GMC truck landed on its side on top of four people, according to Chief Brian Fennessy of San Diego Fire-Rescue.
People attending the festival uprighted the badly damaged truck, Capt. Chuck Kaye of the San Diego Police Department said. Police officers gave medical aid to those crushed by the truck, but “to no avail,’’ Kaye said.
The truck’s unidentified driver suffered major trauma and is being treated for his injuries at UC San Diego Hospital, Sanchez said.
The injured victims were taken to either UC San Diego or Scripps Mercy hospitals for treatment, said Lee Swanson, spokesperson for San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. All the injured victims are adults, authorities said.
The crash was first reported shortly after 3:30 p.m.
According to witnesses, a crowded biker rally was being held Chicano Park at the time. Swanson said the driver, alone in his truck, was southbound on Interstate 5, heading for the Coronado Bridge but failed to make the transition.
The truck went through a tree before hitting the ground, according to police.
“It’s horrible. It’s horrific. We had innocent people down here having a good time and now they’re gone,” Sanchez said.
Eight people on the ground were injured. One suffered major trauma and seven others had minor to moderate injuries, said Lee Swanson, a spokesman for the city’s Fire-Rescue Department.
Witnesses said the truck landed on a vendor tent set up for La Raza Run, a motorcycle ride that ends with a celebration at the park and typically draws hundreds of participants. The crash occurred in front of a stage where a rockabilly band was playing.
“I saw a truck come right off the freeway. It was going so fast it flew over the stage and landed in front of the stage on a tent, a booth that was set up,” Chase Dameron told The San Diego Union-Tribune .
He said four people in the booth were crushed by the truck.
“It was like a movie. It was like in slow motion,” Dameron said. “Where it hit, there was dust and debris and instant chaos and panic. People running crazy.”
Photos from the scene show the truck’s front end was crumpled and its hood popped open.
The park is located beneath the bridge in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood in central San Diego.
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