Patient leaps from ambulance, is struck, killed on I-5 in Encinitas

(File photo)

A driver reported hitting a man who was running across the freeway


A 23-year-old military man jumped out of the back of a moving ambulance and was struck by a car and killed on Interstate 5 in Encinitas Saturday, Feb. 22, the California Highway Patrol said.

The man, who may have been suffering from mental health issues, slipped out of restraints and pushed past the ambulance attendant to open the back door, CHP Officer Mark Latulippe said.

Latulippe said the patient was being transferred by private ambulance from Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside to the Veterans Administration hospital in La Jolla.

About 6:30 p.m., as the ambulance traveled south on Interstate 5, the patient was able to get out of his restraints. He struggled with the attendant but was able to open the back door and jump out, Latulippe said.

The man hit the pavement, got up and ran across the southbound lanes. He jumped over the center divider and started across the northbound lanes. He was struck by a BMW in the left lane, Latulippe said.

The driver, a 40-year-old Carlsbad woman, called 911 to report hitting a pedestrian near Birmingham Drive. The man, who lay dead between the two left lanes, was not struck by any other vehicles.

Medics took the BMW driver to a hospital and her car had to be towed.

Three freeway lanes were blocked by fire rigs and CHP cars. All the lanes were cleared shortly before 9 p.m.

— Pauline Repard is a reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune