The regular weekend chaos on Pacific Coast Highway grew violent Sunday night, March 21, when a box truck’s driver smashed through slow traffic while being chased by sheriff’s deputies heading westbound down the highway near the pier.
At least five cars were sideswiped in the attempted getaway, which began in the 5 p.m. hour near Pacific Coast Highway and Webb Way.
“At approximately 5:30 p.m., we received a call for service of a possible drunk driver,” a report from the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station published Monday said. “Deputies spotted the vehicle driving erratically and endangering the safety of the public. Deputies initiated a short pursuit of the box truck on PCH at Webb Way, in the City of Malibu.”
It may have started in Malibu where the truck was hijacked and a passenger inside it injured with a knife attack. According to reports from the department, the multiple crashes occurred before the chase was initiated, but the timeline was not entirely clear.
The truck went up PCH and well into Ventura County, where it ended in a violent collision with another car on Highway 118 north of Camarillo.
A motorist who was getting a ticket said he saw the California Highway Patrol (CHP) officer deploy a spike strip. When the truck hit it, it went out of control, struck another vehicle and eventually wrecked in a twisted heap in a roadside ditch.
The truck driver was pinned inside the overturned truck, wedged tight in the wreckage.
CHP officers and Ventura County Sheriff’s deputies held him at gunpoint as firefighters used hydraulic tools to pry the wreckage apart.
Across the two-lane highway the other car was upside down, its driver injured.
Back in Malibu, deputies took reports from people inside no fewer than five cars, some of them with their entire left side gouged away.
One family had two babies in car seats. They were traumatized but not physically hurt.
In both LA and Ventura counties, the truck barreled between cars where traffic had slowed or stopped. Five cars were smashed in the Malibu Pier area, with another damaged at Trancas.
There was no immediate word on why the truck was originally being chased.
LA County deputies arrested the driver for “several charges including driving under the influence and hit and run.” He was taken to Los Robles Hospital in Ventura County.