NORTH HIGHLANDS (CBS13) – An early morning crash Tuesday on Elkhorn Boulevard left three people in critical condition, according to the California Highway Patrol.
The crash happened just after 7 a.m. at Elkhorn Boulevard and Sprig Drive. A Jeep drove through the intersection and slammed into the side of a green Mitsubishi sedan.
Off-duty Sac Metro Battalion Chief Jeff Metzinger was first on the scene and found three people unresponsive and trapped inside the car.
“I was heading home and came upon this accident,” said Metzinger. “So I got out and saw what I had, so I got on the phone and started calling for help.”
Emergency crews had to rip the doors off the green sedan to rescue the three critically injured people inside.
Tashelle Miller, a senior at Highlands High School, says heard a loud bang as she got off the bus. She ran up to the intersection and saw the Mitsubishi sedan skid up against the wall and saw two people standing outside the Jeep.
“I saw a girl on the ground shaking and crying and I asked here ‘what’s wrong?’ and she didn’t say anything to me,” said Miller. “There was a boy standing right next to her and he didn’t say anything or acknowledge me.”
A CHP officer says the 17-year-old driver of the Jeep and his 16-year-old passenger are students at Del Campo High and were probably on their way to school at the time.
A 22-year-old woman was driving the green sedan. She had two teenagers in the car with her. Investigators found backpacks in the car and believe two of the injured are students.
“To see my friends or my classmates in that car…I couldn’t believe it and I broke down crying,” said Miller. “And I stood by the car behind the wall saying ‘Are you OK? Are you OK? Can you hear me? Can you see me?’”
The Jeep’s driver says he was blinded by the early morning sun heading west on Elkhorn Boulevard at Sprig Drive, says the CHP.
“He wasn’t really quite sure,” said CHP Officer Liz Dutton. “He had sunglasses on. He said he doesn’t normally wear sunglasses. This is the first time he had the sunglasses on. After he went through the intersection, I think he possible realized it was red.”
The driver told the CHP he entered the intersection following the car in front of him not knowing, not being able to see if the light was red because of the glare.
According to witnesses, the light was red.