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25 hurt as taxi hits crowd outside San Diego nightclub

Twenty-five people were injured when a cabdriver drove onto a sidewalk and smashed into a crowd in San Diego's Gaslamp district entertainment zone early Saturday, police said.

Although 23 people were taken to hospitals, none of the injuries were life-threatening, said San Diego police Lt. Rick O'Hanlon.

The most seriously injured was a 42-year-old woman whose leg was severed when she was stuck between the cab and a metal pole.

The 48-year-old driver, whose name was not released, was pulled from the cab by the crowd and beaten. He had a broken nose, either because of the crash or from being beaten, police said.

The accident occurred about 2 a.m. at 6th and Island avenues, in the heart of the restaurant and nightclub district near the San Diego Convention Center. The taxi crashed into a crowd outside the Stingaree nightclub, which was closing, police said.

More than 50 firefighters, paramedics and police responded. A dozen ambulances took the injured to eight hospitals. Six people were initially listed as critical, some with broken limbs, bruises and scrapes.

Police said the Emerald Cab driver did not appear to be drunk. Police are investigating whether he may have blacked out or fallen asleep.

He was taken to the hospital by police. The cab was going about 15 mph, said Maurice Luque, a spokesman for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department.

San Diego police are continuing to investigate. Anyone with information is asked to call San Diego County Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.

tony.perry@latimes.com

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