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9 people hurt, including children, in rollover crash on westbound I-8 near Lake Murray Boulevard

Nine people were hurt — one seriously — when a car hit a van carrying children, and the van rolled over on Interstate 8 in the Del Cerro area on Monday afternoon.

The crash, which may have been sparked by a possible hit and run, snarled the afternoon commute. It happened just before 3:35 p.m. in westbound lanes west of Lake Murray Boulevard, California Highway Patrol officials said.

Investigators are still sorting out the cause, but what is clear is that a blue Mazda struck a white Nissan van headed west, CHP Officer Jesse Matias said.

The impact sent the van up an embankment. It then overturned and rolled back down onto the freeway, Matias said.

The van was carrying eight children ranging from infancy to late teens, he said. One of them was thrown from the vehicle. That person was initially unconscious, but later regained consciousness, Matias said. Matias did not say how old that child was.

San Diego Fire-Rescue Department reported that one patient was given CPR, and then several were taken to Rady Children’s Hospital, one in the most serious status.

Matias said everyone who had been in the van, including the 38-year-old driver, was transported to a hospital, he said. All had minor injuries except for the juvenile who was thrown. The group may have been part of a church group, he said.

The driver of the Mazda, a 47-year-old Phoenix man, was not injured.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation, but it may have started with an unknown vehicle striking the Mazda, propelling it into the van. The CHP’s online log included a report that two cars may have been racing. Matias said its unclear if that report — which is unconfirmed — may have been related to the crash.

The initial crash left three right lanes blocked, Caltrans reported.

Authorities issued a traffic alert for both sides of the freeway in the area. Within an hour of the crash, eastbound traffic was backed up to Mission Center, and westbound lanes were slowed to at least Jackson Drive in La Mesa.

All freeway lanes were reopened just before 5 p.m., Matias said.



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