Van's Collision with Caltrans Sign Causes Smash-up on I-805

By Steven Luke, R. Stickney and Monica Garske
|  Sunday, Mar 17, 2013  |  Updated 9:38 AM PDT
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GRAPHIC VIDEO: A news photographer captured the collision between a tandem cement truck and several smaller vehicles on Interstate 805 east of San Diego Friday. One person was injured.

GRAPHIC VIDEO: A news photographer captured the collision between a tandem cement truck and several smaller vehicles on Interstate 805 east of San Diego Friday. One person was injured.

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Cars Collide on I-805

At least 5 to 6 vehicles including a cement truck collided on the northbound lanes of Interstate 805 near University Avenue. NBC 7's Steven Luke reports.

Cement Truck Collision Caught on Cam

A video captures the moments when several cars collide on northbound Interstate 805 at University on Friday, March 15, 2013. WARNING GRAPHIC VIDEO
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A news photographer captured the collision between a tandem cement truck and several smaller vehicles on Interstate 805 east of San Diego early Friday morning.

At least five to six vehicles including the cement truck collided on the northbound lanes of I-805 near University Avenue around 3:30 a.m.

CHP said a tan Mazda van driven by a suspected drunk driver crashed into a Caltrans sign that was off the shoulder on the southbound side of the highway. The debris from the collision flew over the median into northbound traffic.

After that, CHP officials say a silver Toyota Corolla traveling northbound on I-805 struck the debris and came to a stop in the left lanes. Then, a blue Toyota Camry driving the same way struck the debris and came to a stop in the center lanes.

The driver of the blue Camry exited his car and tried to remove debris from under the front of his vehicle.

Meanwhile, a gray Toyota Camry traveling northbound on I-805 approached the scene, struck debris and stopped in the right lanes. The driver remained in his vehicle and called for help.

That’s when then cement truck approached then scene, striking the blue Toyota Camry stopped in the center lanes, as seen in the video above.

The driver outside the car was also hit by the truck and propelled toward the right shoulder. He was later taken to Scripps Mercy Hospital with major injuries.

The cement truck then jack-knifed toward the right should and collided with the gray Camry stopped in the right lanes. The driver inside that car sustained minor injuries but was not transported to the hospital.

A blue Acura was also involved in the pile-up, striking debris and coming to rest on the right shoulder.

On the video, you can see the cement truck drive between the two stopped cars then strike one of the cars before crashing into the other.

Sparks fly and loud noises can be heard on the video. Watch raw video here

Doug Calapan was driving to work when he ran into the debris. A “giant orange thing” was suddenly in front of his car.

He managed to drive over to the emergency lane along the right shoulder to collect his thoughts.

“I kept hearing people hitting the debris and I saw sparks and stuff like that,” Calapan said.

Then, he said the dual cement truck sideswiped his vehicle.

“I thought I was safe, far enough off, because it was in the second or third lane where the debris was” Calapan said.

Hearing the sound of all the metal crashing at such high speeds  was the scariest thing he has experienced.

Another driver had stepped out of his vehicle to remove debris from under his car when he was struck by the oncoming cement truck. He was taken to Scripps Mercy Hospital where officials said he was in critical condition.

CHP officers closed northbound I-805 and diverted traffic to Interstate 15. Check Interactive Traffic Map

Dozens of cars were stuck on the closed highway for more than an hour following the pile-up crash.

Aaron Johnson was heading to Encinitas for work and said the fog was way too thick to see what happened.

“All you could see was brake lights, just a wall of brake lights and then you just gotta stop and just wait,” Johnson said.

People were passing the time standing on their car roofs trying to figure out what’s going on or walking around on the highway.

It took officials close to an hour to allow cars stranded on the highway to travel through one open lane.

On Friday night, the 25-year-old victim struck by the cement truck in this pile-up, Navraj Moktan, remained in critical condition at the hospital, suffering from head injuries and leg fractures. He was scheduled for surgery.

Moktan is in the U.S. on a Visa, and is originally from Nepal.

Moktan's family has created a fund to help pay for his hospital bills. Anyone wishing to donate can go to any Bank of America and donate to account # 2083813596. Friends told NBC 7 they're hopeful Moktan will pull through and recover.

Meanwhile, the driver of the Mazda van that started this chain reaction -- Aaron Clark, 22 – has been booked into jail on suspicion of DUI.

CHP says massive pile-up was fog-related due to decreased visibility on the freeway. Officials want to remind drivers that the speed limit is not the speed limit when it’s foggy, and extra precautions should be taken by motorists.

The highway reopened to traffic just before 8 a.m. Friday.

On Saturday, NBC 7 learned Moktan had been upgraded to serious condition at Scripps Hospital.

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