Video Report By Dominic Garcia, Reporter - bio | email
(CBS 8 photos/Dominic Garcia)
SAN DIEGO (CNS/CBS 8) - A crash on Interstate 8 in Cleveland National Forest sent an SUV and a motor home tumbling down a rocky embankment Monday, injuring six people and sparking a small brush fire, authorities reported.
The westbound vehicles collided near Pine Valley Road shortly before 10 a.m., according to the California Highway Patrol. According to investigators, a man driving a Ford Expedition SUV swerved to the right, crashing into the RV.
The vehicles crashed off the freeway and caught fire, igniting vegetation on the steeply sloping roadside, CHP public affairs Officer Kevin Pearlstein said.
"When it hit them they both veered to the right and went over the side, approximately 100 feet over. Both vehicles vehicles caught fire," Pearlstein said.
The victims were able to free themselves and climb back up to the roadway. Medics took them to Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego for treatment of minor to moderately serious injuries.
"We've had several crashes where a recreactional vehicle, they just kind of open up like a can. You peel the can and whatever is in there goes whereever, so very lucky," Pearlstein said.
Fire crews needed about 30 minutes to subdue the flames, which scorched roughly a quarter-acre of rugged terrain and gutted both vehicles.
"The terrain over the embankment here is a lot of steep gravel rock that holds the freeway up, and then there's a lot of old growth vegitation," US Forest Service Battalion Chief Jason Kraling said.
The incident was under investigation. It was not clear if the driver of the SUV would be cited.
"It's under investigation if alcohol or drugs are suspected. The arresting officers went out to the hospital, we talked to everyone at the scene but now they'll go to the hospital after the fact, clear up some statements," Pearlstein said.