The accident on Northbound Interstate 15 at Mira Mesa Boulevard happened at 12:02 a.m. Sunday. The impact of the car can be seen in the damage done to the fire engine.
A split second and few inches were the difference between life and death for a San Diego firefighter. His fire engine was hit by car while stopped on the freeway and he narrowly missed being hit.
Firefighter Jonathan Bowens pulled over his engine on Interstate 15 on Sunday morning to help a driver that had rolled over.
As he got out of the truck to set out cones, he was almost hit by one car. He managed to dodge that one and set out one cone and was walking to the back of the engine when he saw headlights coming at full speed.
"I saw the vehicle coming," said Bowens. "So at that point I backed off and ran around the corner."
Just as Bowens stepped to the side of the vehicle, a Honda sedan slammed into the back of the fire engine.
"The last thing I remembered is just parts coming around and then I was face down," he said.
Firefighters on the scene told Bowens that he flew several feet after the impact.
But after finding out he only had minor injuries, he went back to his responsibilities of rescuing the people in the car that nearly killed him, and alerting other drivers of the crash.
"I'm not going to sit on the sideline and let them do what they have to do to get those people out," he said. "It's still dark and the flares are not out."
The impact of the crash was so intense that a 3,000 pound vehicle caused major damage to a 47,000 pound fire engine.
"They came full speed. They were able to move this rig a couple of feet when they made impact. That's how hard they hit," said Bowens.
All three people in the car were taken to hospital along with Bowens as a precaution.
Now he and other emergency workers are urging drivers to use caution when approaching emergency vehicles on the road.
"Just be aware and slow down even when you're going through the scene," he said.