Caltrans truck hit by suspected impaired driver, worker and 2 other injured

ESCONDIDO, Calif. – An investigation will continue Friday into a crash that hospitalized a Caltrans employee with moderate injuries when his stopped work truck was hit by a suspected impaired driver on an Escondido freeway.

Two passengers in the other car were also injured, one seriously, and taken to a hospital following the crash, California Highway Patrol public- affairs Officer Mark Latulippe said. It happened around 10:15 a.m. Thursday on northbound Interstate 15 south of Ninth Avenue.

According to investigators, the Caltrans pickup truck, a Dodge Ram, was stopped in the center divider area of northbound I-15 when a Nissan Sentra approached from the south in the far left carpool lane.

“The driver of the Nissan allowed his vehicle to drift to the left into the center divider area and strike the rear of the Caltrans vehicle,” Latulippe said.

The Caltrans employee, a Chula Vista resident whose name and age were withheld, sustained moderate injuries, Latulippe said. He was treated by paramedics at the scene before being taken to Palomar Medical Center.

A man in the front passenger seat of the Sentra sustained major injuries, and a man sitting behind him suffered moderate injuries, Latulippe said. They were both also treated at the scene and taken to Palomar Medical Center.

The Sentra’s driver, a 26-year-old Escondido man, complained of pain but refused treatment, Latulippe said. Investigators believe he was driving while impaired and arrested him on suspicion of driving under the influence of a drug. His name was not released.

“This incident is a reminder of the dangers Caltrans employees face every day while performing their duties,” Latulippe said. “(CHP) reminds all drivers to never drive impaired and always reduce distraction within your vehicle.”

Northbound I-15 traffic was slowed until about 11:35 a.m. as a result of the crash, which remained under investigation Friday.