OCEANSIDE, Calif. — Officials say a driver died when he slammed into a pole during a pursuit through North County Friday morning, and hazardous materials spilled all over the road, complicating the emergency response.
Deputies initially responded to a burglary alarm on Willow Ridge Drive in Vista around 4:30 a.m., the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said in a press release. They found a man passed out inside a truck with illegal drugs in the center console and pool equipment in the truck bed. After deputies woke him up, the driver sped off.
After just 20 seconds or so of deputies chasing the driver, the man crashed the truck into a light pole in nearby Oceanside, officials said. The violent collision caused pool chemicals to spill throughout the truck and onto the road at the intersection of Lake Boulevard and Cannon Road.
“Deputies tried to rescue the man, but were unable to reach him due to overwhelming fumes from the chemicals,” Lt. Jeffrey Ford wrote. “Firefighters with the Vista Fire Department were able to remove the man from the truck, but he did not survive.”
Paramedics took a sheriff’s deputy who inhaled some of the chemicals to the hospital for treatment, but they were released later that day.
Officials asked people to avoid the area for “at least a few hours.” Police blocked Cannon Road from Lake Boulevard to Melrose Drive, and Melrose was closed from Sunset Drive to Via Colina.
The city and county sent hazmat teams to clean up the mess and ensure the streets reopen safely. Officials did not ask any residents nearby to evacuate.