Rescuers were called out to the Morena Boulevard off-ramp of Interstate 8 west on Thursday after a dump truck tore through a bridge railing and plunged to the San Diego riverbed below.
The truck apparently rolled over the left-hand side of the off-ramp at a little after 10:14, according to Caltrans officials. The fall to the ground at that point is about 30 to 50 feet, the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department (SDFD) said.
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The truck left a debris field on the off-ramp that will need to be cleaned up and repairs completed prior to reopening.. A half-dozen fire trucks were sent out to Morena Boulevard, with workers down on the riverbed below and a patrol car blocking traffic blocking traffic on the ramp..
The driver of the truck, who was the sole occupant of the vehicle, was rescued by SDFD in about 40 minutes, then transported to UC San Diego Health with major to moderate injuries, according to California Highway Patrol Sgt. Robert Holts.
"What we had to do was basically come up with a plan to extricate the patient and get them into the ambulance, since there really was no vehicular access where the patient and truck ended up," San Diego Fire Rescue Battalion Fire Chief Jared Deneen said.
The presence of emergency responders on the site and repair crews has prompted the closure of the ramp for at least three hours, officials said. Complicating the scene for officials was the fact that the overturned truck spilled fuel onto the dry riverbed which will need to be mitigated.
Holts added that officials aren't too concerned about structural damage to the off-ramp. So far, it's unclear what caused the crash but authorities believe speed may have played a factor.