A CHP officer escapes a deadly situation, walking away with some bumps and road rash -- but not before tying up several freeways in Mission Valley.
Officer Dan Shoemaker was hit at about 8:45 a.m., according to the San Diego Police Department. Incredibly, he suffered only minor injuries in the crash, which took place less than a mile from Friars Road on the southbound Interstate 15.
Because of the investigation, traffic was halted in several directions. The CHP closed I-15 in both directions. Drivers headed to work on I-8 westbound were stopped at 40th Street, and drivers on I-15 north were diverted to I-8. The CHP reopened I-15 in both directions at about 10:30 a.m.
A CHP officer in a patrol car -- she has not been identified -- and Showmaker had both pulled over at the median because of a minor accident on the other side of the freeway, according to CHP spokesman Brad Baehr. As the officers were leaning over the concrete divider, the driver of a pickup truck entered I-15 south from the I-8 off-ramp and continued across all lanes of the freeway. Instead of merging, it hit the median, then struck the CHP patrol car and motorcycle. The motorcycle hit Shoemaker, who was standing in front of it, and the veteran officer was dragged by the truck at least 50 feet.
Multiple witnesses, including Marcus Williams and Peni Samatua stopped to help Shoemaker. The two men said they lifted the pickup off Shoemaker to free him. Samatua said he saw the whole thing and was horrified by the experience.
Shoemaker, who will be turning 40 on June 1, grew up in San Diego and currently lives in Alpine, where he's raising three kids. His brother Joe said the officer was going to be fine. He just got "road rash," according to Joe.
Joe Shoemaker said he and the family are relieved his brother is OK. He said his brother is a great guy and that he's sore and beat up but otherwise fine.
Joe was emotional recalling being notified about the incident.
"Relieved -- I mean, you get a call that your brother's been hit .. a CHP officer, you know the worst thoughts go through your head," Joe said. "You know, 'Is my brother going to make it?' His family, his kids .. and then to go in there -- 'He's going to be fine.' Whew! It's like 100 pounds got lifted off."
Joe said his younger brother's wife took the news extremely well. "She's doing better than me," Joe said.
The officer's buddies are at the hospital helping support him after the accident, according to Shoemaker's brother.
The other officer was visibly distraught after the crash. More than a dozen officers were on the scene by 10 a.m. from multiple agencies. The northbound lanes were closed by the investigation because of the minor crash that prompted the officers to stop in the first place.
The driver of the truck, Brian Joseph Andrews was taken to Scripps Mercy Hospital along with the officer. He's listed in good condition as of Tuesday afternoon. Witnesses told the CHP that they overheard Andrews say he has a medical condition that may have caused him to black out before the accident.