Fire Truck Crashes into Ditch Along Old Highway 395

The collision happened around 7:30 a.m. on southbound Old Highway 395 south of Camino Del Rey

One firefighter was injured when a North County Fire Department truck crashed into a ditch near Bonsall early Thursday, California Highway Patrol (CHP) officials said.

The fire truck was traveling southbound on Old Highway 395 south of Camino Del Rey just after 7:30 a.m. with its lights and sirens on, en route to an emergency call.

North County Fire Department public information officer John Buchanan said the truck was responding to a vegetation fire reported near Old Castle Road in Valley Center at the time of the collision.

According to CHP Officer Jim Bettencourt, a Ford F-650 box truck pulling a wood chipper trailer was traveling northbound in the area when the driver saw the fire truck. That driver slowed and pulled to the right to yield to the fire truck, Bettencourt said.

A 2007 Toyota Tundra driven by a 33-year-old Escondido resident was behind the Ford F-650, but was traveling too fast. Bettencourt said that driver was unable to stop and crashed into the back of the trailer towed by the F-650.

That impact caused a chain reaction.

The Ford F-650 was pushed into the southbound lane where it collided with the oncoming fire truck. The fire truck lost control, drifted across northbound lanes and then went down a ditch.

Bettencourt said three firefighters were inside the truck. One suffered moderate injuries and was taken to Palomar Hospital. Buchanan said the firefighters will be released from the hospital soon and is expected to make a full recovery.

The other two firefighters were not hurt.

CHP officials said the investigation is ongoing, but alcohol or drugs are not suspected factors in the crash.

A Sig Alert was issued for Old Highway 395. CHP expected northbound and southbound lanes to be blocked until further notice.

Old Highway 395 is a popular route just west of Interstate 15, south of the State Route 76 junction.

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