Three people are dead after a driver plowed into nine pedestrians in a tunnel in downtown San Diego near San Diego City College on Monday.
San Diego Fire-Rescue Department arrived at the scene on the 1400 block of B Street around 9:05 a.m. PST in a tunnel beneath a bridge near the college campus’ Curran Plaza.
“Our crews found, obviously, a tragic incident under the bridge,” SDFD Chief Colin Stowell said, as NBC 7 San Diego reported.
The chief confirmed that among the nine victims, three died at the scene. Six individuals were transported to local hospitals following the incident.
At last two people are in critical condition as a result of the crash, San Diego Police Department Chief David Nisleit said.
According to Nisleit, the driver was a 71-year-old man who is suspected of driving while impaired. He was detained at the scene.
The chief said the driver was heading westbound on B Street near 15th Street when he lost control of the vehicle.
“It went completely up onto the sidewalk, struck the multiple pedestrians there, then came back onto the roadway and came back to stop in the very No. 1 lane, just before you exit the tunnel,” he explained.
Witnesses of the accident said they saw the driver attempt to help the victims. When law enforcement arrived, the driver identified himself to them.
“To those families [of those who] have passed, my deepest condolences,” Nisleit said, noting that the victims’ names and ages have not been released.
According to Nisleit, the area will remain closed for the rest of the day so detectives can conduct an investigation. Motorists are being advised to take alternative routes.
Over 60 first-responders were assigned to the accident, as well as five SDFD engines and a helicopter.
Ronnie Williams, a witness to the deadly accident, said she suddenly heard a “loud bang or, like a boom.”
“That’s when it happened really fast,” Williams told NBC 7. “I turned around and I saw yellow headlights and next thing you know, I was almost getting sucked under the car. And then I managed to pull my leg out from under the car right here.”
“You could see everything popping up, going in the air, dragging, it was, it was very loud. It was like something you see in a movie scene,” he added.