Two people were killed and two people were critically injured in a jump off a freeway overpass after a crash in Carmel Valley late Tuesday.
A Nissan Altima was heading eastbound on SR-56 near Carmel Valley Road when the vehicle spun out an crashed into a bridge's railing at about 11 p.m., the California Highway Patrol said.
The six people inside the car got out of the car, possibly to avoid getting hit by an oncoming vehicle, which was stalled in traffic lanes, CHP Sgt. Brent Lowry said.
Four of the occupants, all teenagers, ran across the freeway and jumped over the bridge's edge, dropping about 80 feet into an embankment below.
"When the occupants got out, probably unfamiliar with the area, and unfortunately jumped over the wall, that there was a fall down below," Lowry said.
The fall left two men, one 18-year-old and one juvenile, and two women, a 14- and a 15-year-old, with critical injuries. Medics transported the women to a Scripps La Jolla Medical Center for treatment.
CHP said the car's two other occupants may have walked away from the scene and officers were conducting searches for the individuals.
At the crash site, the Nissan was stalled in the number one lane of eastbound SR-56 over Gonzalez Creek. It had a crushed rear bumper but witnesses told police it was the only car involved in the crash. CHP suspects it was damaged during the spin out when the car crashed into the guardrail.
It was unclear what caused the vehicle to lose control in the first place. An open bottle of beer was seen inside the crashed car but CHP has not determined if alcohol was believed to be a factor in the crash. An investigation was ongoing.
Lanes were temporarily closed overnight but were reopened by Wednesday morning.
An Escondido Police Department Lieutenant confirmed that the Nissan involved in the crash was also involved in two high-speed pursuits earlier in the week.
The first was just before 11 p.m. Monday when police responded to reports of a collision on Broadway. Officers arrived and saw multiple people involved in the crash jump into the back of the black Altima before it drove away. Officers gave chase but quickly stopped the pursuit because the Altima was driving at dangerously high speeds.
The second incident occurred on Tuesday at around 12:35 p.m. when officers spotted the same Altima on El Norte Parkway and Washington Avenue. The Altima, with multiple passengers inside, sped away from police and the chase was called off after about a minute.
Tuesday' night's crash wasn't the first time this year someone fell to their death in a jump from a freeway overpass that was higher than anticipated.
In February, Robert "Bob" Verlin Bruno, Jr., who was outside of his car as he aided a stranded passenger, tried to avoid an oncoming collision by jumping over the 450-foot Pine Valley Creek Bridge, one of San Diego's highest.
The crash happened in near-darkness, at about 5 a.m. on a foggy and icy day in East County.
No other information was available.
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