A traffic collision in San Clemente left the driver of a Saturn sedan dead after crashing into a truck during a police chase on Wednesday morning.
The crash occurred at about 2:30 a.m. when a deputy from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office noticed a four-door Saturn sedan driving at a high-rat
e of speed on Avenida Palizada, said Chris Goodwin, an officer of the California Highway Patrol.
Goodwin said that the officer then switched on his sirens to notify the driver to pull over and stop, but the driver just continued on. The driver headed towards the I-5 freeway.
The Saturn then entered the freeway and was followed closely by the police officer’s vehicle, added Goodwin.
The Saturn then exited the freeway and continued at a high speed on Avenida Pico while the deputy attempted to catch up.
Unfortunately, Goodwin said that the deputy never got close enough to initiate a stop.
The deputy lost sight of the car at the corner of Avenida Pico and Avenue Vista Hermosa, Goodwin said.
Goodwin said that the deputy continued searching for the vehicle throughout the vicinity before he found the car stationary in the parking lot of a local business, with its headlights turned off.
The driver of the Saturn saw that the deputy had found him and exited the parking lot on Avenue Vista Hermosa towards the south and then pulled a U-turn.
Goodwin says that the deputy then also made a U-turn and turned on his emergency lights and sirens and followed the fleeing vehicle.
The driver of the Saturn panicked and accelerated away from the police officer. He entered the intersection at the corner of Avenida Pico and Avenue Vista Hermosa while it was on a red light. His vehicle was then hit by a commercial truck.
The car was then spun around several times in the roadway before it came to rest facing north on Avenida Pico. The driver’s side of the vehicle was severally damaged.
The commercial truck jackknifed and flew over the sidewalk before it stopped on the side of the road. The entire cab of the truck was destroyed in the accident.
The driver of the Saturn was ejected from his vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene. He was traveling with one passenger, who sustained traumatic injuries and was taken to Mission Hospital for treatment.
The two occupants of the commercial truck were also injured with injuries varying from minor to moderate. They were both taken to San Clemente Hospital for evaluation and treatment.
The accident is still under investigation and it remains unclear if drugs or alcohol played a part in this accident.
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