OCEANSIDE -- A pair of apparently unrelated rollover crashes early Tuesday in Oceanside left the two drivers hospitalized and thousands of gallons of water gushing from a sheared fire hydrant.
The first of the crashes was reported at the intersection of North Santa Fe and Mesa avenues around 2:15 a.m., according to the Oceanside Fire Department.
Arriving fire crews found a man had been trapped inside his overturned vehicle after it went over the side of an embankment and struck a tree, Battalion Chief deAvila of the Oceanside Fire Department said. The driver was extricated in about 40 minutes and was later flown from the fire station to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla in critical condition.
Around the same time, fire dispatchers alerted crews to an overturned vehicle in the front yard of a residence on Olive Drive near College Boulevard. DeAvila said the car had veered off the roadway, took out a fire hydrant and landed upside down on top of another car in a home’s driveway.
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said a deputy had attempted to pull the driver over for speeding and running a red light. The man refused to stop and crashed after a brief chase that lasted just under a minute.
Neighbors said the man appeared to be going at least 80 miles per hour before losing control. A resident of the home outside which the crash occurred described the scene.
“I was just going to bed when I heard a bunch of commotion, a lot of sirens going off,” a woman told reporters. “I opened the door, but they all had their guns out, so I just shut the door and went back inside until I figured they'd come and get us.”
Firefighters found the young man who had been behind the wheel lying outside of the car, deAvila said. He was first taken to Tri-City Medical Center, then airlifted to Scripps La Jolla.
The broken hydrant sent a geyser of water 20 to 30 feet into the air until city water department personnel shut it down about 10 minutes later. DeAvila said running water would be restored to utility customers in the area by about 6 a.m.