When Al Jamchi spoke in front of a television camera moments after the accident, he described what he said caused the collision. NBC 7's Elena Gomez reports.
The driver who ran a red light and injured three people when he struck a San Diego jail transport vehicle claims shiny street lights gave him no other choice.
Ala Jamchi was driving through the intersection of 4th Avenue and Ash Street in downtown San Diego around 11:30 p.m. when his car collided with a blue Crown Victoria driven by an employee of the private security firm Advantage Sentry.
The security guard was armed because he was transporting two prisoners to jail at the time of the collision.
Jamchi admitted to running the signal when he described what happened to a photojournalist on the scene. He said he wasn’t from the area and the lights in the street distracted him.
“All these lights be shining on me, what can I do, don’t be shining on me,” Jamchi said. Watch Raw Interview
Passerby Peter Rondon witnessed the collision and said the detention officer ordered Jamchi to the ground at gunpoint.
“The officer kept telling him to ‘Get down, get down or I’m going to shoot you,’” Rondon said.
Jamchi said he had never been confronted by police before. “He made me lay on the ground and kiss the floor or something,” he said.
Firefighters used special equipment to get the two prisoners out since the back doors on the specially-designed vehicle are not to be opened from the inside.
Rondon believes the car that ran the red light was traveling 50 to 60 mph through the intersection moments before the crash.
Jamchi explained that he had no choice but to strike the detention officer’s vehicle.
“This light hits me in the eye, I had to make a decision so I made a decision whether to hit him or am I going to get hit,” Jamchi told NBC 7.
“So I’m going to hit him. Hell, he’s not going to hit me,” he continued. “I knocked him out of the way.”