Retired Cop, 4 Others Injured in Crash Following Police Pursuit in Otay Mesa

Witnesses tell NBC 7 they heard the crash before the sirens.

A retired San Diego Police officer, his son and four others were injured when a police pursuit for auto-theft suspects ended with a crash in Otay Mesa Thursday evening.

The black Toyota Camry, which had been reported stolen, was traveling at a high rate of speed with police behind through the South Bay.

As it passed vehicles on the right using the bike lane, it collided into a silver Ford Freestyle traveling westbound on Palm Avenue near Norstad Street at about 7:30 p.m., according to San Diego Police.

In the SUV were a retired SDPD officer and his son. Junior Berruecos said the SUV had the green light.

“The black car was being chased by the cops from like all the way down there and it actually ran the red light and they hit right here in this intersection,” he said.

"I heard a big bang,” said Barbara Sablan. “After, I heard the bang I heard sirens so I came running out.”

Sablan said from her home she could see several police officers with their guns drawn, pointing at the black vehicle.

Five people -- three in the suspect car and two in the victim's SUV — had to be cut out of the vehicles by San Diego Fire-Rescue crews. All were taken to the hospital.

The retired officer suffered minor injuries, while his son had more serious wounds, though they are considered non-life threatening.

Officials say the driver who refused to stop for police was a 39-year-old man who broke his pelvis and his wrist. One of the passengers was a 41-year-old Hispanic female who had complaint of pain to her hips. The other passenger, a 24-year-old man was treated for a broken femur and cuts to his face.

Nearby resident Lindsey Candelarias said she heard loud thumps and stepped outside to find a helicopter in the air and a collision with several victims on the street.

“I’ve never seen this many cops on Palm Avenue,” Candelarias said. She also said she doesn’t recall hearing any police sirens.

Police closed off the area for a time while they investigated.

This is the second SDPD pursuit that has ended in a crash in the last two weeks. The department's policy says officers need to slow down and let their helicopter keep eyes on suspects when chasing suspects through heavily trafficked, neighborhood streets.

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