ALPINE, CA — Thursday's heavy snow made for extremely dangerous driving conditions on San Diego's east county roads Friday morning. The slushy snow froze overnight, creating sheets of ice on Interstate 8 through in Alpine and Pine Valley, as well as surrounding mountain roads, including State Routes 78, 79 and Sunrise Highway.
After 6am Friday, as traffic increased, 10News Anchor Jim Patton and Photojournalist Geoff Stevens witnessed 6 vehicles in a span of 30 minutes slide off the east bound 8 near E. Willows Road. Among those, Stevens captured video of a semi-truck that jack-knifed and had to drive the wrong way up the W. Willows Road on-ramp to get off the freeway. He also captured an El Cajon Valley School bus, (occupied by only the driver), sliding across four lanes before bouncing off an embankment. In all the mishaps no injuries were apparent. Though, the bus was later towed from the scene.
Drivers who managed to stay on the road were greeted by a CHP roadblock at East Willows road. In all, a more than 60-mile stretch of freeway was closed to prevent further accidents in the icy conditions.
Vehicles stretched for miles as countless travelers waited for hours for the sun to rise and melt the dangerous ice.
"There was a pickup truck that spun out in front of me and I thought okay this isn't good," said Mona Rowshan who was the drivers put on hold. She said she hadn't seen such conditions on a highway since living back east.
One truck driver spoke from his cab, "It's bad for the drivers like us because we've got a job to do."
And for Joe Martinez it was leisure time that would have to wait. "We're like, come on please, this is holding up our vacation."
CHP reopened interstate 8 in both directions about 9:30 Friday morning. Whle sections of State Routes 78, 79 and Sunrise Highway remained closed until conditions were deemed safe.