1 dead, 7 hurt as car careens onto California sidewalk

AP News
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Posted: Jun 20, 2015 3:01 PM

VALLEJO, Calif. (AP) — A car veered onto a Northern California sidewalk and hit people waiting near a bus stop, killing a woman and injuring seven other people, including the driver and two children, police said.

The Nissan Versa went out of control shortly before 3:30 p.m. Friday on Sonoma Boulevard in this San Francisco Bay Area town, police said. The car hit several people and a wooden utility pole.

It went 50 feet before stopping, dragging two women. A passing tow truck driver saw the crash and used his hitch to lift the car off of them, the Vallejo Times-Herald (http://bit.ly/1CjSHUI) reported.

A 49-year-old Vallejo woman died at the scene and her 4-year-old daughter was injured. Two other women, a man and a 4-year-old boy were hurt.

Many people stopped their cars to help the victims, including a man who aided the 4-year-old girl. "There was blood all over her head, and she had a big gash," he told the newspaper. The man declined to give his full name to the newspaper.

The driver, a 65-year-old Suisan City man, was treated for minor injuries.

He appeared to be falling asleep at the wheel and then jerking awake, said Shmellia Butler of Vallejo, who saw the accident.

"When he kept coming to, he would just hit the gas hard," she told the newspaper. "He swerved around and then he came in this lane and then poof, hit them."

The driver, whose name wasn't released, had been at a medical marijuana dispensary before the crash, and marijuana was found in the car, Lt. Kevin Bartlett said.

It wasn't immediately clear whether the marijuana played any role in the crash, he said.

"His injuries, his intoxication level, his past medical conditions, his age, are being taken into consideration. But he is not under arrest," Bartlett said. "But we are investigating these things."

Vallejo is about 25 miles northeast of San Francisco.