Runaway truck plunges off bridge, crushes 4 people

2016-10-16 09:08
Police stand near the pickup truck that landed at Chicano Park after it flew off a ramp to the San Diego Coronado Bridge in San Diego. (Hayne Palmour IV, The San Diego Union-Tribune, AP)

Police stand near the pickup truck that landed at Chicano Park after it flew off a ramp to the San Diego Coronado Bridge in San Diego. (Hayne Palmour IV, The San Diego Union-Tribune, AP)

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San Diego - Four people were killed and nine were injured on Saturday after an out-of-control pickup truck plunged off the San Diego-Coronado Bridge and ploughed into crowd gathered at a festival below, authorities said.

The truck driver, who was alone in the vehicle, struck a guardrail and fell 20m before landing on Chicano Park, California Highway Patrol Officer Jake Sanchez said.

He was taken to the hospital with major injuries and will be arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence causing deaths and injuries, the officer said.

His name has not been released.

"It's horrible. It's horrific. We had innocent people down here having a good time and now they're gone," Sanchez said.

Crushed, panic

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 bonnet popped open.

The park is located beneath the bridge in a predominantly Hispanic neighbourhood in central San Diego.

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