SAN DIEGO -- Two men died and two teen girls were badly hurt when they jumped off a freeway overpass following a minor crash in Carmel Valley overnight, likely not realizing there was a 50 to 70 foot drop into a canyon, officers said.
Two other people from the car were severely injured jumping from the bridge, and two more people believed to be in the car at the time of the crash remained missing Wednesday morning.
California Highway Patrol said all six people were headed east on State Route 56 in a Nissan Altima around 11 p.m. Near Carmel Valley Road, witnesses told CHP the car spun out and hit a barrier.
Investigators believe at least four of the people were trying to avoid getting hit by another car when they ran across the lanes, hopping off the bridge over a short wall, likely with no idea that such a long drop awaited them.
Firefighters found two men dead below the bridge and two teen girls, 14 and 15 years old, were rushed to the hospital with severe injuries. The men who died were in their late teens or early 20's, police said.
CHP officers were still searching for the other two people around 7 a.m. Wednesday. It wasn't clear if they ran away after the crash or were also injured.
"When the occupants got out, they were probably unfamiliar with the area and unfortunately jumped over the wall," said CHP Sgt. Brent Lowry.
An open beer was found in a front cupholder of the vehicle, but officials said it was too soon to say whether DUI was suspected.