ENCINITAS, Calif. (CNS) — A 19-year-old Thermal man was arrested Sunday on suspicion of reckless evading of a police officer after a multi-vehicle crash following a high-speed chase with California Highway Patrol officers, authorities said.
CHP officers from the Oceanside area were patrolling northbound Interstate 5 at Manchester Avenue at 8:22 a.m. when they saw a grey Nissan Sentra being driven erratically at a high rate of speed, Officer Hunter Gerber of the CHP said. The officers tried to make a traffic stop but the Nissan failed to yield and a pursuit began, Gerber said.
The car continued to evade CHP officers on northbound I-5 until it exited at Encinitas Boulevard and traveled eastbound for a little more than a mile until it approached the intersection at Via Cantebria.
As the Nissan entered the intersection, it ran a red light and made an illegal left turn toward northbound Via Cantebria, Gerber said. At the same time, two vehicles traveling westbound on Encinitas entered the intersection.
The first vehicle was a grey Volkswagen Jetta driven by a 25-year-old Carlsbad woman. The second vehicle was a grey Chevrolet Traverse driven by a 32- year-old Encinitas woman, with her two sons, a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old, in the vehicle with her.
As the Nissan made a left turn into the intersection, it collided with the Volkswagen and then with the Chevrolet, Gerber said. The Nissan driver and his occupants -- all Thermal residents ranging from 16 to 20 years old -- were taken to area hospitals for major injuries, Gerber said. The driver of the Volkswagen, the driver of the Chevrolet, and her juvenile passengers were also taken to area hospitals, for injuries not considered to be life-threatening.
CHP officers arrested the Nissan driver on suspicion of reckless evading of a police officer. Alcohol or drugs were considered a possible factor in the collision, Gerber said.
The intersection was cleared by the CHP at 1 p.m.
Anyone who witnessed the crash was asked to contact the CHP at 760-643- 3400.