A family trip to Disneyland turned into a horrible tragedy Wednesday morning when the grandmother was killed in a car accident on Interstate 805 in San Diego.
Another car hit the family’s SUV, causing it to roll over onto the edge of a 30-foot-high freeway railing (see photo).
• A Honda cut in front of a Nissan Altima on the freeway. When the Altima swerved to avoid hitting the Honda, it crashed into a Rav4 SUV with five people inside.
• The SUV rolled over the edge of a freeway overpass and dangled precariously atop the railing.
• Four of the occupants of the SUV were seriously injured. The fifth suffered acute head trauma and did not survive.
California Highway Patrol Officer Art Athans said 43-year-old Brian D. Thomas of San Diego was driving a black 2003 Toyota Rav4 sports utility vehicle northbound on the 805 freeway near Mira Mesa Boulevard when the crash occurred.
A woman driving a 2005 Nissan Altima swerved to avoid hitting a Honda sedan that cut in front of her and crashed into the Rav4, causing the SUV to skid out of control and roll over onto the edge of three-story-high overpass. The wrecked vehicle was perched atop the concrete railing, dangling precariously over a Caltrans construction site 30 feet below.
Caltrans workers saw the vehicle and immediately rushed to assist, according to a CBS Channel 8 News report. The crew moved a heavy duty forklift onto the overpass and used it to support the rear of the SUV so it wouldn’t plunge over the side.
All of the occupants of the Rav4 were pinned in the vehicle. The Caltrans crew helped most of them to get out of the vehicle before emergency crews arrived at the scene.
Thomas suffered broken ribs, cuts and bruises. His 42-year-old wife, Rebecca Thomas, was riding in the front passenger seat and suffered a leg injury as well as numerous cuts and bruises. Their 8-year-old son and 22-year-old daughter suffered lacerations and bruises. All four were taken to hospitals to be treated.
The children’s grandmother, 65-year-old Laura Hall, was riding in the back seat with her grandchildren. She suffered major internal injuries and a severe head injury. Paramedics rushed her to Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla, where she later died from her injuries.
The Altima that hit the SUV also hit a Toyota Tacoma pickup truck. Neither of the drivers were injured.
Police are looking for the driver of the Honda that cut in front of the Altima, which led to the deadly chain-reaction crash. The sedan reportedly was gray or beige and may have had Arizona license plates.
The CHP urges anyone with information about the Honda or the accident to call (619) 220-5492.
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