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San Diego DUI driver, 71, arrested after killing 3 homeless & injuring six others living under tunnel 

Craig Voss San Diego City College crash
Pictured, Craig Voss San Diego City College DUI crash driver.
Craig Voss San Diego City College crash
Pictured, Craig Voss San Diego City College DUI crash driver.

Craig Voss San Diego City College DUI crash driver kills three homeless & injures six others living under tunnel now faces charges of vehicular manslaughter and a DUI. 

‘A street is not a home.’  A 71-year-old driver who killed three people and injured six others upon plowing into them along a sidewalk in San Diego, California is facing charges of vehicular manslaughter and a DUI. 

Craig Voss was arrested at the scene of Monday’s crash in a tunnel that runs underneath the San Diego City College campus and which is heavily populated with homeless people and a well known homeless encampment. 

Police said Voss was heading through the tunnel when he drove his Volvo station wagon up on the sidewalk shortly after 9am, striking several people and then veering back onto the road. 

Upon his arrest, Voss was held on three counts of vehicular manslaughter, five counts of causing great bodily harm and a felony DUI.

Voss was reported to have no prior criminal history. Come Tuesday, Voss remained jailed, in lieu of $1 million bail pending arraignment, scheduled for March 23 according to jail records.

Determined that 71-year-old driver was under the influence of drugs- but what drugs?

San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit revealed Voss being ‘impaired’ at the time of the crash, while refusing to say whether he was under the influence of alcohol or other substances – with media sources intimating that Voss was indeed under the ‘influence’ of drugs.

It was determined, Voss, who is a N.Y state retiree, had done a field sobriety test by a drug recognition expert.

His neighbor told CBS8 that Voss had suffered a stroke last year that left him with a disability and speech impediment. 

‘Sometimes it’s a slurred speech. So, it’s really hard to understand him. I believe it’s due to certain words that he says. So, I have to ask him multiple times,’ Misty Herrera told the outlet.

Three people died at the scene of the crash and five of the six others who were injured were taken to hospitals. 

Two are in critical condition but San Diego Fire Chief Colin Stowell said both were ‘awake, alert and answering questions’.

Mayor Todd Gloria said most, if not all of the people who were struck, were homeless

‘There because they had nowhere else to go,’

‘They were there because they felt like they had nowhere else to go,’ Gloria said. 

‘This crash… did not have to be so devastating. Let me state it very clearly, a street is not a home.’  

The mayor said the encampment had been there a while. 

Council President Pro Tem Stephen Whitburn admonished the city housing crises and rampant homelessness

“As we have learned that all nine victims are a part of our unsheltered community, this is stark evidence of the need to find permanent solutions to the homelessness crisis so that no San Diegans are forced to seek shelter in unsafe places, such as under bridges and in tunnels that vehicles pass through,’  Whitburn said in a prepared statement.

More people on Monday might have gone to the short tunnel because it was raining.

Social tragedy

On a typical weekday morning, the tunnel is a busy area with students walking by but classes have been online during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lisa Brotzman said she was peering out of a window in her tent just as the car swerved to the right shoulder, ‘spun out of control’ and jumped onto the sidewalk in the tunnel where people were waiting out the rain.

‘Someone was screaming, ‘Ahhh! Ahhhh!” Brotzman told The San Diego Union-Tribune

‘Two or three people were yelling and screaming. It was scary.’ 

Images from the scene showed remnants of tents strewn across the underpass following the crash. 

Nisleit said Voss got out of his car and tried to help people before identifying himself to police.

Authorities had initially said they believed the driver had tried to flee the scene. 

‘He was cooperative, (and) did not try to run away,’ the chief said, correcting earlier reports from police that he had tried to flee.  

Multiple ambulances, five fire engines, a helicopter and more than 60 first-responders rushed to the scene.  

A tragedy that needn’t have been but for greater social tragedies…