Four people were killed and nine injured Saturday when a pickup plunged off the San Diego-Coronado Bridge into an afternoon crowd of motorcycle enthusiasts at Chicano Park, authorities said.
Two of the nine people who were injured suffered major trauma, including the driver, who was in shock and told several witnesses who rushed to his aid to contact his commander at a nearby military base.
Authorities identified him as Richard Anthony Sepolio, 25, a Navy man stationed in Coronado. He was later arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.
Police and paramedics swarmed to the busy park when officers reported casualties among visitors. The injured were taken to Scripps Mercy Hospital, UC San Diego Medical Center and Sharp Coronado Hospital.
The tan-colored pickup was northbound on Interstate 5 to go west on the bridge when it went airborne at 3:45 p.m.. It crashed in front of a stage where a rockabilly band was playing, witnesses said.
One witness said there was “instant chaos and panic.”
The California Highway Patrol closed the I-5 north access to the bridge so investigators could do their work.
Hundreds of motorcyclists were gathered in the Logan Heights park for the La Raza Run and witnessed the crash.
“I saw a truck come right off the freeway. It was going so fast it flew over the stage and landed in front of the stage on a tent, a booth that was set up,” said Chase Dameron, who was about 30 feet away.
He said four people in the booth were crushed by the pickup.
“It was like a movie. It was like in slow motion,” Dameron said. “Where it hit, there was dust and debris and instant chaos and panic. People running crazy.”
Said Dameron’s friend, George Rodriguez: “It’s something I won’t forget as long as I live.”
Repard and McDonald write for the San Diego Union-Tribune.
8:44 a.m., Oct. 16: This article was updated with the arrest of the driver.
10:45 p.m.: This article was updated with the identity of the driver.
6:30 p.m.: This article was updated with a revised injury total and accounts from witnesses.
5:30 p.m.: This article was updated with information about injuries.
This article was originally published at 4:45 p.m