San Marcos CA— On Thursday, November 17th, 2016 at approximately 3:30 A.M., Efren Mendoza a 21-year-old Vista Resident, was driving his Volkswagen Jetta west on State Route 78, just west of Woodland Parkway at high speeds. He allowed his vehicle to drift into the center median and collide with the center barrier wall. His vehicle then veered right across all freeway lanes and left the edge of the freeway. The vehicle impacted a tree, before coming to rest on its roof upon the adjacent frontage road of Rancheros Drive.
CHP Officers Morado and Robertson happened to be driving east on State Route 78 and observed the entire collision occurring. They promptly summoned medical assistance and responded to the scene. Upon their arrival, they found Mr. Mendoza sustained severe injuries, including fractures to both legs. He was unconscious and trapped inside the vehicle. When the vehicle began to catch fire, the officers promptly and heroically extricated the driver by cutting off his seatbelt and pulling him from the burning wreckage. They provided medical care to him until relieved by paramedics from the San Marcos Fire Department.
Mr. Mendoza was transported to Palomar Medical Center, in Escondido, where he was treated for severe injuries, which were not believed to be life-threatening. He was arrested on suspicion of driving under the combined influence of alcohol and a drug(s), but was released to the hospital for urgent medical care. A criminal complaint will be forwarded to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office for review and final determination. The collision remains under investigation.