SAN DIEGO – A driver who reportedly ran from his burning car after crashing on State Route 163 in Linda Vista, leaving his injured passenger behind, was captured early Saturday morning.
Just before 1:30 a.m., a BMW sedan carrying two people slammed into the back of a tow truck on SR-163 north, near Genesee Avenue.
According to California Highway Patrol Sgt. Brent Lowry, the tow truck driver continued for about 100 yards before realizing he had been rear-ended and was dragging the BMW under his truck. He stopped, jumped out, ran back and helped the BMW’s male driver out of the car as it burst into flames. That driver then ran from the scene, leaving his male passenger trapped in the front seat.
CHP officers responded and battled the blaze until San Diego Fire-Rescue crews got on scene.
"They actually went through four fire extinguishers trying to keep the fire at bay until the fire department got here and put the fire out officially," Lowry said.
SDFR crews extinguished the blaze and extricated the trapped passenger from the car. He was rushed by ambulance to Sharp Memorial Hospital with critical injuries.
A San Diego police helicopter was able to track and capture the suspect driver on nearby Meadowlark Drive. He was arrested on drunken driving and hit-and-run charges, Lowry confirmed. His name was not immediately released.
One CHP officer was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.
The northbound side of the freeway was shut down while emergency responders cleared the scene. It has since been reopened.