SAN BERNARDINO (CBSLA) – A hit-and-run driver was arrested after slamming into a semi-truck on a 215 Freeway bridge late Thursday night in San Bernardino, sending the truck careening off the side of an overpass and bursting into flames on a roadway below, leaving two people hurt.
At about 10:45 p.m., a vehicle on the southbound 215 Freeway near University Parkway collided into a semi-truck carrying peaches and plums, California Highway Patrol reports.
The impact sent the big-rig through a guardrail, off the side of the freeway overpass and landed down on University Parkway. The cab and trailer separated, struck three other vehicles, and then came to rest on an embankment.
“We heard like this huge boom, and we looked outside, and we see flames,” said Destiny Ruby, who works at a nearby restaurant.
The truck driver was trapped in the cab.
“The worst part is that we heard the guy inside, honking the horn, like ‘get me out of here.'” Ruby said.
Several bystanders rushed to the truck and pulled him to safety.
“People were coming out of their apartment right here, out of the Motel 6, all in the middle of the street, helping those people in their pajamas,” Ruby’s coworker Craig Suchil told CBS2. “People were getting out of their cars, they came together and they helped. It was unreal.”
Within minutes of being pulled out, the truck burst into flames, Ruby added.
The driver was rushed to a local hospital with serious injuries.
A woman in one of the cars struck by the semi also had to be pulled to safety.
“She was smashed into the wall, they saved her to, they got her out,” Suchil said.
She was taken to a hospital with minor injuries.
The truck leaked about 50 gallons of diesel fuel, prompting a hazmat callout. The fruit was strewn across the roadway, creating a sloshy mess.
Meanwhile, the vehicle which had initially struck the semi on the freeway sped away. However, officers caught up with the vehicle and arrested the male driver on charges of driving under the influence of intoxicants and hit-and-run, CHP reports.
A Sig Alert was issued and University Parkway was shut down in both directions for several hours, but has since reopened. At least one lane of the southbound 215 Freeway was also closed while Caltrans crews repair a damaged guardrail.