An explosion that blew a woman from her truck and forced evacuations was caused by a pipe bomb, according to deputies.
Connie Hoagland, 52, a worker at a residential day care facility in Rancho San Diego, got into her truck Thursday afternoon, started the engine and was then blown out of the vehicle by the explosion.
Neighbors heard a “boom” around 4.15 p.m. on the 12000 block of Via Hacienda. Residents living in two dozen homes on the street were forced to evacuate. Kristin Taffie lives eight houses away from where it happened.
“I was right on the corner hanging out with the kids and all of a sudden we just heard this huge boom,” Taffie said. “It was extremely loud. You would have thought it was something like a bomb.”
There have been no arrests in the case.
"I don't know why they would be targeted. Really nice people, always friendly, always having family barbecues,” said the victim’s neighbor Brandi Smith. “I can't imagine why anyone would do anything to her, she's a really nice lady.”
Investigators are looking into a separate incident, where a pipe bomb was recently found near the victim's home. It’s not clear if the incidents are related. Investigators are asking anyone with information about either case to come forward.
“I think the community wants to know who did this as badly as we do and they're going to be looking out for someone or something suspicious and we welcome those phone calls,” said San Diego County Sheriff’s Department spokesperson Jan Caldwell.
Investigators have taken the truck to the crime lab where they are going over it piece by piece to determine what kind of a pipe bomb it was that exploded.
“We've been talking about it and we're going to have to come together and talk about what this means and obviously we're going to be curious as to whether that person was specifically targeted or whether it was random,” said resident Scott Furrow.
Hoagland was taken to the UCSD Burn Center, where she was rushed into surgery and treated for severe burns.
There are no court records indicating that Hoagland, or her husband Larry Hoagland, are involved in any serious disputes. But the Hoaglands have filed for bankruptcy, and a hearing in that case was held in federal court on Wednesday.
Court documents show Larry Hoagland is part-owner of a local photography business. The couple owes almost $500,000, mostly on their Rolando home, and are trying to avoid foreclosure, according to the documents.