Oceanside CA— Just after 3:00am Monday morning, February 22, 2016, the California Highway Patrol began receiving reports of a dark colored sedan entering the eastbound SR-78 traveling west at the Rancho Santa Fe off ramp. Shortly after, the vehicle was involved in a head-on collision just west of College Boulevard.
Units from Oceanside and Carlsbad Fire Departments responded to the scene just west of College Blvd. Fire units were dispatch just after 03:15 hours and the first unit arrived in approximately 5 minutes. Carlsbad Engine 2211 arrived first and reported two vehicles, both with major damage found on the EB lanes at the reported location from a possible head-on collision.
CHP immediately ordered the entire EB lanes of SR-78 to be shut down, due to an enormous debris field stretching approximately 400 feet from both vehicles involved.
Oceanside Engine 2113 arrived to assist and reported to the second vehicle located approximately 300 feet away. With two vehicles suffering major damage and both drivers trapped, additional incident rescue units were added to assist removing both drivers from their vehicles. The vehicle extrication tools were used to remove both patients; firefighters packaged and prepared them from rapid transport via Air Ambulances.
Two different landing zones were needed to utilize multiple air ambulances, requiring a second landing zone coordinator, Oceanside Battalion 2105 was added to assist. The first patient, an elderly female driving the wrong way on SR-78, was extricated, treated and off the scene en-route to landing zone #1 at 0350hrs.
Patient #2 is the male driver of a small pick-up truck and was removed two minutes later, treated and then transported to landing zone #2.
The removal of both patients from the vehicles they were driving, suffered major front-side damage in the accident making their extrication from the wreckage complicated. While working at the incident, rescue crews required coordination of their equipment and resources to remove each victim involved in the incident from their vehicles.
Both patients suffered major injuries and their status during transportation to Scripps La Jolla hospital is acute.
EB-SR-78 was closed at El Camino Real. Vehicles traveling east, behind the accident scene, were turned around and detoured back to the El Camino Real on-ramp.
All lanes of EB SR-78 were reopened just after 4:30am