Twenty-three people were injured today when a taxi driver who said he passed out drove onto a crowded sidewalk in the Gaslamp District as a bar was closing, police said.
The carnage occurred at 1:50 a.m. outside the Stingaree nightclub at 454 6th Avenue, said San Diego police Sgt. Ray Battrick.
The 42-year-old driver of the Emerald cab told officers he blacked out moments before the cab went onto the sidewalk and into a crowd of people leaving the club. Authorities said drugs or alcohol did not appear to be a factor.
None of the injuries were considered life-threatening, but a 42-year-old woman had to have a lower leg amputated, said San Diego police Lt. Rick O’Hanlon.
Enraged patrons attacked the cab driver, who was rescued by bouncers from the club.
The driver had a broken nose, and it was unclear whether his injury was caused during the crash or by the crowd, O’Hanlon said.
The nightclub also had minor damage.
When emergency crews arrived, they were told to clear the area because a witness reported seeing a bag with wires coming out of it in the taxi.
The bag turned out to be a massager, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
About 55 fire emergency personnel went to the scene, including 12 ambulance crews, four fire engines, two fire trucks and several police officers, said San Diego Fire-Rescue Department spokesperson Maurice Luque.
Some ambulances dropped patients at a nearby hospital and raced back to the scene, he said.
The woman who lost her leg apparently was pinned between the cab and a low wall, bystanders told a freelance videographer.
It was a “textbook, clockwork multi-casualty incident,” Luque said.
Stingaree owner James Brennan said in a statement that