OCEANSIDE - A 21-year-old motorcyclist from Camp Pendleton suffered major injuries when he struck the back of a car, slid under a big rig and his legs became pinned under the trailer, a California Highway Patrol sergeant said Sunday.
The crash was reported at 8 p.m. Saturday on southbound Interstate 5 north of Cassidy Street, said Sgt. M. Kelley.
The crash occurred when the motorcyclist was "splitting traffic" between the two left lanes at 60 to 75 mph while traffic was congested and moving at 30 to 50 mph, Kelley said.
The driver of a 2005 Toyota Corolla checked her mirror and saw the center lane was clear, so she began to move from the far left to the center lane and the motorcyclist collided into the back of her car, the sergeant said.
The motorcyclist then traveled to the right and went underneath the back of the 2009 Kenworth tractor-trailer's trailer, Kelley said.
When the truck driver "felt his vehicle shaking he stopped and looked into his left side mirror" and saw the motorcyclist's "helmet sticking out from the left rear axle area of his trailer," the sergeant said.
The left forward axle of the trailer came to rest on top of the motorcyclist's legs, Kelley said. The motorcycle was entangled in the rear axle of the trailer.
Officers say the truck dragged the motorcyclist for more than 100 feet before coming to rest, trapping him for about 10 minutes until rescuers arrived.
Kelley said firefighters used special equipment to free the motorcyclist from the trailer and he was airlifted to Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla.
"The fire department did an outstanding job," said CHP Officer Chris Parent. "They were here quickly. They were able to get airbags underneath the axle and the tires and were able to free him from the big rig."
Traffic was backed up for more than two hours as police shut down two lanes while they gathered clues.
"Alcohol does not appear to be a factor in this collision," the sergeant said.
The 25-year-old Toyota driver and the 44-year-old big rig driver were both from San Diego, Kelley said.