clearn.png
Tuesday June 15th, 2021 6:01AM

3 die when car hits 9 people in San Diego; driver in custody

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A driver plowed through a sidewalk homeless encampment Monday in downtown San Diego, killing three people and injuring six others, authorities said.

Craig Voss, 71, was heading through a tunnel underneath a community college campus when he drove his Volvo station wagon up on the sidewalk shortly after 9 a.m., San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit.

Voss was arrested at the scene. He faces three counts of vehicular manslaughter, five counts of causing great bodily harm and a felony DUI, Nisleit said, adding that Voss did a field sobriety test by a drug recognition expert. He did not elaborate or identify whether Voss was under the influence of alcohol or other substance. He said additional charges may be coming.

It wasn't immediately known if Voss had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf.

The deadly crash highlights the inherent risks to the homeless population in California, where their tents and tarps line not only downtown sidewalks but are near ramps where cars accelerate as they enter freeways.

More than 150,000 people are homeless statewide. The number has increased during the coronavirus pandemic that has upended the economy.

Mayor Todd Gloria said most, if not all of the nine people who were struck were homeless.

“They were there because they felt like they had nowhere else to go,” Gloria said. “This crash this morning did not have to be so devastating. Let me state it very clearly, a street is not a home.”

Three people died at the scene. Five of the six others who were injured were taken to hospitals. Two were in critical condition. San Diego Fire Chief Colin Stowell said both were “awake, alert and answering questions.”

The mayor, who took office in December, said the encampment had been there awhile and more people might have been drawn to the tunnel under the San Diego City College campus because the cement overpass provided cover on a rainy day.

On a typical weekday morning it is a busy area with students walking by, but classes have been online during the coronavirus pandemic.

Gloria said the city needs to act now to address its homeless problem, and it was starting by offering shelter Monday to the other homeless people who were in the tunnel and escaped injury. A handful accepted. The city also sent mental health professionals to help.

“We want to make sure that they did not die in vain," Gloria said of those who were killed.

But he added that the city is facing a shortage of beds at its shelters and he pledged to talk to state and federal officials to get more help, calling the current situation “not acceptable."

“It’s not humane or safe to keep allowing our unsheltered neighbors to sleep under bridges, in alleys or in canyons," he said.

Lisa Brotzman said she was peering out of a window in her tent just as the car swerved to the right shoulder, “spun out of control” and jumped onto the sidewalk in the tunnel where people were waiting out the rain.

“Someone was screaming, ‘Ahhh! Ahhhh!’” Brotzman told The San Diego Union-Tribune. “Two or three people were yelling and screaming. It was scary.”

The driver got out of his car and tried to help people before identifying himself to police, Nisleit said.

“He was cooperative, (and) did not try to run away," the chief said, correcting earlier reports from police that he had tried to flee.

Ambulances, five fire engines, a helicopter and more than 60 first-responders responded to the scene.

“Our crews found, obviously, a tragic incident under the bridge,” the fire chief said.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Myanmar junta orders martial law in large area of Yangon
Myanmar’s ruling junta has declared martial law in a wide area of the country’s largest city, as security forces killed dozens of protesters over the weekend in an increasingly lethal crackdown on resistance to last month’s military coup
2:36PM ( 5 minutes ago )
EXPLAINER: Why countries are halting the AstraZeneca shot
A dozen countries including Germany, France and Italy temporarily suspended their use of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine after reports last week that some people in Denmark and Norway who got a dose developed blood clots, even though there’s no evidence that the shot was responsible
2:35PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Shaq Barrett stays with Bucs on 4-year, $72 million deal
Linebacker Shaquil Barrett has agreed to a four-year, $72 million contract to remain with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are aren’t wasting time doing whatever’s necessary to retain key components of their Super Bowl-winning roster
2:28PM ( 13 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Myanmar junta orders martial law in 6 Yangon neighborhoods
Myanmar’s ruling junta has declared martial law in a wide area of the country’s largest city, as security forces killed dozens of protesters over the weekend in an increasingly lethal crackdown on resistance to last month’s military coup
1:57PM ( 45 minutes ago )
Cities, groups aim to stop Ohio's push for early census data
A coalition of local governments and civil rights groups sued the U.S. Census Bureau last year to stop it from ending the 2020 census early out of fear it would undercount minority communities
1:43PM ( 59 minutes ago )
Vatican bars gay union blessing, says God 'can't bless sin'
The Vatican has decreed that the Catholic Church won't bless same-sex unions, saying that God “cannot bless sin.”
1:22PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP National News
Germany, France suspend use of AstraZeneca vaccine
French President Emmanuel Macron says that France is suspending the use of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine use out of precaution
11:35AM ( 3 hours ago )
'Mank' leads Oscar nominations in a year with diverse slates
David Fincher’s “Mank” has led nominations for the 93rd Academy Awards with 10 nods
11:22AM ( 3 hours ago )
Biden, Harris and others to promote relief plan's benefits
President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and their spouses have opened a cross-country tour this week to highlight the benefits of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief plan
10:59AM ( 3 hours ago )
Top General short headlines
Myanmar junta orders martial law in large area of Yangon
Myanmar’s ruling junta has declared martial law in a wide area of the country’s largest city, as security forces killed dozens of protesters over the weekend in an increasingly lethal crackdown on resistance to last month’s military coup
2:36PM ( 5 minutes ago )
EXPLAINER: Why countries are halting the AstraZeneca shot
A dozen countries including Germany, France and Italy temporarily suspended their use of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine after reports last week that some people in Denmark and Norway who got a dose developed blood clots, even though there’s no evidence that the shot was responsible
2:35PM ( 7 minutes ago )
Major European nations suspend use of AstraZeneca vaccine
Germany, France, Italy and Spain have become the latest countries to suspend use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine over reports of dangerous blood clots in some recipients, though the company and European regulators have said there is no evidence the shot is to blame
2:31PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Shaq Barrett stays with Bucs on 4-year, $72 million deal
Linebacker Shaquil Barrett has agreed to a four-year, $72 million contract to remain with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are aren’t wasting time doing whatever’s necessary to retain key components of their Super Bowl-winning roster
2:28PM ( 13 minutes ago )
California governor launches campaign against likely recall
California Gov. Gavin Newsom established a political committee to begin raising money to defend his seat in a potential recall election, the strongest acknowledgment to date that he expects to be on the ballot this year
2:17PM ( 25 minutes ago )