NewsLocal News


Response to person in distress leads to major backup on I-5

Posted at 11:47 AM, Jul 03, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-03 20:31:36-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – A major traffic backup formed on Interstate 5 in the Old Town area Wednesday as authorities subdued a man threatening to jump.

At around 10 a.m., California Highway Patrol officials said they received a report of a man standing on an elevated edge of the freeway on northbound Interstate 8 near the transition to Interstate 8. It was later determined that the man was threatening to jump.

During the incident, authorities issued a Sig Alert and shut down all northbound I-5 lanes heading towards the I-8 transition.


The situation created a traffic backup that extended south from Old Town towards downtown San Diego. Traffic on northbound I-5 was diverted onto Pacific Highway.

The police activity also affected the San Diego Trolley. No Sycuan Green Line trains stopped in Old Town, according to MTS. Other trains were rerouted.

Thousands of people were diverted or stranded on the roads and rails. Many said this couldn't have come at a worse time, during the holiday weekend rush.

"We've been on the road for 25 minutes just to try to get to PB," one car passenger told 10News.

According to AAA, nearly 50 million Americans will travel this July 4th weekend. Of that, 41.4 million people will be taking their cars. Drivers in major cities should expect delays up to 4 times their normal commute. Extenuating circumstances, like Wednesday's jumper incident, made that delay even longer.

"I've been stuck here for about two hours," southbound trolley passenger, Jesse Garcia said. She was shuttled, hoping to get to her downtown destination, but got diverted back to the scene.

"I got on the shuttle bus taking me down to Washington Street," Garcia said. "And the trolley cop told me to get on the trolley going the wrong way. And I ended up back here wasting another 30 minutes of my time, and it's just ridiculous."

After two hours, negotiators successfully talked the man out of jumping. The man was taken into custody safely about 12:30 p.m., officials said.

While thousands were inconvenienced by the incident, Garcia said she felt for the man in distress.

"The day before Fourth of July, it should be a joyous weekend, you know what I mean?" Garcia said. "So that is kind of sad. I hope he receives the proper care."


(888) 724-7240