Investigators: Pipe bomb caused dashboard blast - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Investigators: Pipe bomb caused dashboard blast

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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A pipe bomb caused an explosion that seriously injured a residential day care worker when she started her truck in front of her East County workplace this week, authorities disclosed Friday.

The homemade explosive device detonated on Via Hacienda in Rancho San Diego shortly before 4:30 p.m. Thursday, blowing windows out of the pickup and leaving its owner, 52-year-old Connie Hoagland, with severe but non-life-threatening wounds.

Medics took the Rolando resident to a burn unit at UCSD Medical Center, where she underwent surgery.

Deputies, meanwhile, shut down a stretch of the street in front of the home day care center near Avenida Apolinaria and cleared everyone out of nearby residences while arson investigators worked to determine if the blast was caused by a bomb or some sort of mechanical problem in the truck.

The investigation, which also involved agents from the FBI and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, ultimately determined that the explosion resulted from a makeshift bomb, sheriff's spokeswoman Jan Caldwell said this afternoon. Those agencies will continue to work together to find the perpetrator, she said.  

Caldwell declined to disclose further information about the device, including whether it had been planted in or on the truck, or positioned on the
roadway beneath it. No suspects have been identified, she said.

Authorities were looking into whether the crime was related to the placement of a pipe bomb on a roadway a few blocks from Hoagland's home two
weeks ago, according to Caldwell.

By News 8's Craig McKee

RANCHO SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) -  Investigators sifted through pieces of debris throughout Thursday night, left behind after an explosion tore through a truck shortly after 4p.m in the 12000 block of Via Hacienda.

"I was sitting on the corner when it happened...about five houses away," explained Rancho San Diego neighbor Kristin Taffie.  "And all of a sudden I just heard a boom."

That boom was a truck exploding after Connie Hoagland, identified to News 8 by neighbors in an undated photo, got in it to leave the daycare she worked at.

"When the ignition was started the car did explode," said Jan Caldwell, San Diego Sheriff's Department spokesperson.

From Chopper 8 you could see the shattered glass all over the street from where the blast occurred.....some distance from where the truck ended up.

"The car was thrown about forty feet, she was ejected from the vehicle," said Caldwell.

"The fire station is right here and I heard them go that way," said one neighbor. Who said emergency crews arrived fast.

Emergency crews worked quickly and rushed Connie to U.C.S.D. Medical Center with burns.

Evacuations in a two block area were ordered from the air; while California Highway Patrol pushed people away from the scene.

Hillsdale Middle School became a makeshift Command Center and parents had to wait for their kids to be escorted down past police tape.

"Can't walk down there can't get in you have to wait right here and hopefully someone can send your kids out," said parent Venus Braxton.

Bomb techs along with other investigators slowly worked their way through the scene.

"The San Diego Sheriff's Department, Joint Terrorism Task Force, the  FBI is on scene," said Caldwell.

Neighbors describe Connie as a caring mother and wife who didn't have any enemies. She loves caring for children at the daycare she works for as much as she cares for friends and family.

Neighbors say this isn't the first explosion in the area and that a pipe bomb detonated at Rancho San Diego Elementary school on August 30th of this year.  Investigators won't comment on whether or not the two have anything to do with one another.

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----------------Original Story Below---------------------


RANCHO SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Something inside or underneath a car parked in Rancho San Diego exploded Thursday when a woman started the engine, injuring her and prompting evacuations of nearby homes as authorities sought to determine what caused the blast.

The detonation on Via Hacienda was reported shortly before 4:30 p.m., sheriff's Lt. Mike Munsey said.

"We don't know if there was an explosive device or if the vehicle malfunctioned," Munsey said.

Medics took the injured woman to a hospital for treatment of injuries of unknown severity. Deputies closed a stretch of the street near the intersection of Avenida Apolinaria and cleared people out of houses around the driveway where the damaged sedan was parked.

Sheriff's bomb-arson investigators were called in to identify the cause of the blast and determine if the incident was a criminal act, Munsey said.

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