3 injured when pickup fleeing deputies crashes into big rig

SAN DIEGO – Three people were critically injured Monday when the pickup they were in crashed into a tractor-trailer while they were being chased by sheriff’s deputies.

Ellen Medina was help her father park the 18-wheeler it happened.

"Right there and then it was like a big boom," said Medina.

She told Fox 5 she jumped out to check, but then quickly jumped back in.

"The Sheriff's Deputies were telling us to get back in the truck because there may have been stray bullets because the guys in the truck were armed supposedly," said Medina.

The crash happened around 2:30 p.m. at Camino Maquiladora and Pacific Rim Court about two miles east of Interstate 805 and just north of state Route 905 in Otay Mesa.  Sheriffs Investigators said at 2:00 p.m. Deputies with the Border Crimes Suppression unit spotted the Chevy Pick-Up near Caliente and Otay Mesa Road.

Deputies stopped the driver now identified as Christian Eduardo Saldana Medina for a minor violation, at first Medina complied.  As Deputies were conducting a records check, he took off leading them on a high speed chase.

"With that, the car crashed into a large semi," said Lt. Dan Eddy, San Diego Fire Rescue.

It took rescuers with the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department about 20 minutes to free all of the victims. One of the people was unconscious and was airlifted to a local trauma center. The other two were taken to hospitals by ambulance. One of the men appeared to be so badly hurt he might not survive, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Battalion Chief Dan Eddy told reporters.

One of the passengers Edgar Valenzuela was arrested for Possession of a Controlled Substance, and Possession of Paraphernalia.  Medina was arrested for Felony Evading and Felony Evading w/ injury.  The third occupant in the car was not arrested.

Ellen said thankfully no one else was harmed, but the incident left her shaken.

"I just gotta stay calm and see what happens from here on," said Medina.