3 killed, 6 hurt when driver veers onto downtown sidewalk

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SAN DIEGO — Three people were killed and six others were injured Monday morning when a man suspected of driving impaired veered onto a sidewalk near San Diego City College, police said.

At around 9:05 a.m., the driver, a 71-year-old man, was driving a Volvo station wagon westbound in the 1500 block of B Street when he veered onto a sidewalk under a bridge, hitting nine people, San Diego police Chief David Nisleit said. The driver tried to help the victims and identified himself to police as the driver, Nisleit said.

Officers detained the driver on suspicion of driving while impaired.

Three people died at the scene, San Diego Fire-Rescue Chief Colin Stowell said. Five people were taken to hospitals. Two of the patients were in critical condition, Nisleit said.

Several tents and belongings were set up inside the tunnel, Nisleit said. It was unclear whether the victims were homeless.

“I don’t know if people were sleeping, if people were sitting there,” SDPD Chief David Nisleit told reporters during a late-morning briefing also attended by Mayor Todd Gloria and San Diego Fire-Rescue Chief Colin Stowell. “I have not been given that exact (information).”

Shortly before the crash, someone call police to report a possibly intoxicated driver about a mile from the tunnel in a vehicle matching the description of the suspect’s Volvo, Nisleit said. Investigators believe it was the same car that crashed onto the crowded sidewalk minutes later, the chief said.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

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