Calif. Firefighters Pursue Damaged Car on Freeway

SAN DIEGO --

A man was taken to the hospital following a bizarre crash and pursuit on Interstate 805 that involved Del Mar firefighters.

According to authorities, the incident began shortly before 11 p.m. Thursday when the unidentified driver crashed into another car on Via de la Valle and then left the scene.

A Del Mar Fire Department engine arrived at the crash scene but could not find the white Mazda involved in the incident.

However, firefighters somehow saw the Mazda -- with part of its front smashed and missing a front tire -- driving on the freeway. Firefighters tried to stop the vehicle, but to no avail.

Authorities said firefighters turned on their lights and sirens and pursued the Mazda for nearly 12 miles, from Del Mar Heights Road to I-805 and Balboa Avenue, until a motorcyclist got in front of the Mazda and forced the driver to stop.

The firefighters did not say why they decided to chase the Mazda, but they said it was not a high-speed pursuit.

A representative for the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, a separate department, told 10News: "It's not our policy to chase or follow vehicles. We do not instruct our firefighters to do something that could put them in danger. They are not law enforcement."

The California Highway Patrol is investigating whether the man was driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Witnesses said the driver seemed disoriented and confused following the pursuit.

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