Early February 10th, a driver plowed into a crowd on a sidewalk in South of Commonwealth of Fullerton, or as locals call it SOCO. A Toyota Tacoma had reportedly jumped the curb, struck people, and proceeded to crash into a tree. Victims were between 18 and 49 years old, with injuries ranging from moderate to critical. Some of them unfortunately got trapped underneath the truck.
First responders and good Samaritans at the scene worked together to lift the truck and free those trapped beneath it. They were then treated by emergency technicians and transported to the hospital. The others who were struck by the vehicle were also sent to the hospital for treatment. In addition, one of the passengers in the truck was reported to be injured as well. All of the people involved in the accident are expected to survive.
Fullerton Police Department Lieutenant Jon Radus was quoted to say, “It’s sad. This is supposed to be a place where people are able to come and enjoy themselves and, unfortunately, someone’s reckless behavior…has caused a lot of heartache and a lot of sadness for families today.”
The driver was later identified as 22-year-old Christopher Solis of Anaheim. Police suspected him of having been under the influence of drugs when the incident occurred. They placed him under arrest for felony DUI causing great bodily injury.
Witness reports mention an altercation that started the series of events. A group of men allegedly surrounded the truck and began pounding on it. The witness mentions seeing the men try to get the driver out of the truck but, as a result of the driver’s resistance, the driver lost control of the vehicle.
Jose Barajas, the suspect’s brother, told reporters what Solis recollected of the incident. Gang members were attacking Solis, trying to take his car and other possessions. In an effort to escape his attackers, he tried to drive away but then crashed into another car. He then lost control of the car and plowed into the crowd on the sidewalk, eventually hitting into the tree.
The police reported that a drug recognition expert did an evaluation and determined that he was under the influence of drugs at the time of the collision. However, Barajas claim that Solis passed a field sobriety test and had not been drinking or using drugs. Officials are still waiting for the results of the toxicology test to confirm their suspicions regarding drug use and impairment.
Meanwhile, Solis is being held on $100,000 bail. His first court appearance was set for Wednesday, February 13th.