Crashes from 163 to I-5 freeway ramp onto baseball field sparks CalTrans action

New guardrail to be built along San Diego High

SAN DIEGO - It is something you would not expect to see on the pitcher's mound: a car that careened out of control and onto the baseball field at San Diego High School. 

That accident occurred last October in the middle of the night. A few weeks ago, an SUV lost control on the southbound state Route 163 ramp onto Interstate 5 and crashed on the field. Only a steel fence separates the roadway from the field.

SDHS varsity baseball head coach Tim Staninger told 10News, "During practice, there's 40 boys out here practicing... a car rolled over here and broke through the fence again. There were boys right here by this cage. We're hitting ground balls and all of a sudden, there's a car rolling up through the fence."

The boys were not hurt, but certainly shocked.

Julian Murdzek, a junior who plays second base, was in the batting cage with senior outfielder, Victor Mohler. 

"All of a sudden, we hear this noise, like a car screeching and we see this car coming at us," said Mohler. "It just rolls into the fence."

The coach knows how disastrous that could have been. He said it is on his mind. 

"It's constant," said Staninger. "I'm in the dugout, looking out in the outfield and see cars speeding by constantly and you think… the one happened in the middle of the night and one in the middle of practice. You never know what could happen."

Senior pitcher Jose Montes thinks about it as well. 

"When I'm pitching, I do bullpen over there," he said. "I always look back and I hope a car doesn't come by again because that's really scary. Anything could happen here."

Murdzek added, "Now whenever I see a ball go down there, I just think, 'is this going to happen again?'"

CalTrans was contacted and 10News learned that a guardrail is being planned.

"It's a ramp connector. It connects southbound 163 to 5, but we will be installing a metal guardrail on that portion around the school," said Caltrans spokeswoman Cathryne Bruce-Johnson.

It is welcome news at San Diego High at the boys' baseball and the adjacent girls' softball diamonds.

Staninger said he cannot wait. 

"Great, fantastic!" he said. "Just want the boys and girls to be safe… don't want anything tragic to happen. Just want to be able to play ball and have fun."

 

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