Three men were injured when a man drove a U-Haul van into a crowd of people outside a bar in Encinitas on Sunday, the San Diego Sherrif's Department (SDSO) said.
At around 1:19 a.m., SDSO arrived outside near The Saloon Bar and SHELTER bar on the 500 block of South Coast Highway 101 after they received calls that a van had driven into several people.
When officers arrived at the scene, the driver of the van had been detained by several witnesses.
During the investigation, SDSO determined the suspect had been at SHELTER and was asked to leave due to his level of intoxication.
“I saw this guy who was very belligerent, very drunk and he couldn’t stand up well, that’s when I saw the bouncers kick him out,” said Michael, who was at the bar at the time of the incident.
After leaving the bar, Michael saw that the suspect was being very aggressive towards the bouncers and refused to leave. He said the suspect even attacked one of the bouncers.
“They held him down at the ground and gave him the option to either calling the police or to calm down,” Michael said.
Michael said he then saw the suspect walk away and yell that he was going to be back in an hour.
Moments later, the suspect got into his rental U-Haul van and intentionally drove it into a crowd of people standing outside the bar, SDSO said.
“We were in line to get into the bar and he drove it [the van] into the doors,” said Austin Purdey, who witnessed the crash. “It was something I have never seen before.”
Three men were injured in the crash.
A 25-year-old victim underwent surgery for serious injuries. A 24-year-old was in stable condition in the intensive care unit. The third victim, a 23-year-old, was treated for minor injuries.
One of the victims was transported to Palomar Medical Center and two were transported to Scripps La Jolla Hospital.
Two other victims that were injured while detaining the man were transported to Scripps Encinitas for minor injuries.
Police identified the driver of the van as 28-year-old Christian Davis. He was arrested and charged with three counts of attempted murder and one count of attempted escape with force.
He is being held at the Vista Detention Facility and is not eligible for bail, the sheriff's department said.
The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information regarding the incident can contact the Sheriff’s Department at (858) 565-5200.
"Our thoughts go out to the three victims injured in Saturday's incident in front of The Saloon. We are currently cooperating hand in hand with the San Diego Sheriff's Department in their ongoing investigation," said Dale Polselli, Proprietor of The Saloon.
"Our patrons and employees' safety are always our number one priority and we're thankful for the fast response not only from our local law enforcement and medics but from our employees and customers with medical training who acted as our first responders on the scene. We would also like to thank the community of Encinitas for their outpouring of support."