A stolen truck hauling tacos hit two cars on the freeway in San Bernardino on Monday, sped down an off-ramp, hit a school bus loaded with children, jumped a curb onto the sidewalk and then plowed into a propane tanker – which was followed by gunfire.
“It was just a crazy scene,” said San Bernardino police Lt. Rich Lawhead.
The incident started quietly enough, Lawhead said. Officers had arrived at the Amapola Rico Taco restaurant off Mount Vernon Avenue about 8:30 a.m. to investigate a report of a stolen food truck.
But as the officers took their report, the stolen vehicle rolled by, Lawhead said.
Police gave chase and the truck accelerated onto the southbound 215 Freeway, Lawhead said. The truck hit speeds up to of 80 mph and hit two vehicles before it exited at Mill Street, he said.
Unfortunately for the driver, Mill Street during the morning rush hour is packed with commuters and students headed to a nearby school, Lawhead said. The truck rolled right into gridlock once it was off the freeway.
The driver of the truck tried to steer around the stopped cars, including a school bus carrying some 40 kids, and hopped onto the sidewalk, Lawhead said. The truck rear-ended and sideswiped the bus as it roared forward, but then broad-sided a propane tanker on the adjacent street -- bringing the truck to a halt.
The men inside the truck tried to run away, but they were arrested after officers opened fire, Lawhead said. No one was hit and the men suffered only minor injuries from the crashes.
“Initially it was pretty crazy – dealing with an officer-involved shooting, the two suspects were injured, then I think I smell gas, plus now you got to move these kids out of the area,” Lawhead said.
In the end, the propane did not ignite and there was no explosion. The children were uninjured. They were put on another bus and sent on their way, he said.
The two men in the truck, identified as Sean Fowler, 20, and Daiquon Horne, 22, were arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, grand theft auto and evading police, Lawhead said.
For breaking California news, follow @JosephSerna.