Suspected drunk driver, puppy rescued from car mangled in DUI crash

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SAN DIEGO — A drunken driving suspect was taken into custody Wednesday after his speeding car slammed into the back of an SUV on Interstate 5 in Logan Heights, injuring four people, authorities said.

Nobody suffered major injuries, but firefighters had to extricate the suspected drunk driver from his 2014 Dodge Challenger after it was mangled with a guardrail on the Cesar Chavez Parkway offramp from southbound I-5, California Highway Patrol officer Tommy Doerr said.

During the extrication, firefighters also rescued a puppy that was in a crate on the passenger-side floorboard of the Challenger.

The CHP did not immediately release the name of the suspect, identifying him only as a 38-year-old San Diego man. Investigators believe he was drunk and speeding when he rear-ended a 2009 Nissan Pathfinder on southbound I-5 just before the Cesar Chavez Parkway off-ramp, Doerr said.

The Pathfinder became disabled at the top of the offramp, while the Challenger continued on the exit ramp before crashing into the guardrail. About 100 feet of the guardrail was damaged in the crash.

The driver of the Challenger was taken to UCSD Medical Center with moderate injuries after his extrication and is under arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence, Doerr said.

The 58-year-old Oxnard man driving the Pathfinder also suffered moderate injuries and was taken to Scripps Mercy Hospital, Doerr said. His passengers – – a 57-year-old woman and 22-year-old man, both of Oxnard — suffered minor injuries and were also taken to Scripps Mercy Hospital.

The off-ramp was closed for several hours as crews repaired the guardrail and CHP officers conducted their investigation.

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