Suspected drunk driver rescued from mangled car after hitting pole

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SANTEE, Calif. — A man suspected of driving under the influence suffered severe head injuries Wednesday morning in a predawn single-vehicle crash in Santee, authorities said.

The driver, identified only as a man in his late 20s, crashed into a tree and traffic light pole about 4:25 Wednesday morning at Mission Gorge Road near state Route 52, Sheriff’s Sgt. Kristin Brayman said. Investigators believe he was eastbound on Mission Gorge Road before the wreck, but they were not certain what caused him to crash.

The driver was unconscious when emergency crews extracted him from the crumpled vehicle and took him to Sharp Memorial Hospital, where he was undergoing emergency surgery “for extensive injuries and deep lacerations,” Brayman said. Investigators believe he was under the influence of alcohol, drugs or both.

The crash knocked down the traffic pole and temporary closed both eastbound Mission Gorge Road and a ramp to the eastbound lanes of the highway, Brayman said. CalTrans and public works crews were called to the scene, where they set lights in the area to blink red until they can repair the downed traffic pole.

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