Two men flee from freeway accident

Police were combing the city late Wednesday afternoon for two men who reportedly ditched their mashed-up pickup truck on the northbound lanes of U.S. Highway 101 following a traffic-snarling four-car collision.

Witnesses told the California Highway Patrol that two Hispanic men hopped out of their banged-up red Toyota pickup and fled into Burlingame after the 3 p.m. crash, which occurred near the Broadway Street offramp, the Highway Patrol said.

The accident caused minor injuries to a woman in her 30s, who was transported to Mills Peninsula Hospital, and stunted traffic in the area for about an hour, authorities said.

Several construction workers manning a project just off the highway told Burlingame police they saw the men running into the Northpark Apartment Complex at 1080 Carolan Ave. The men were not immediately found and the search was ongoing, CHP Officer Tom Stewart said.

It was not known if the men were responsible for the accident, but they must have been at fault for something to run off the way they did, according to Craig Latham, battalion chief for the Central County Fire Department.

“It’s hard to say why they fled … either they caused [the accident] or were driving without a license or something like that,” Latham said.

Latham estimated the accident happened at speeds of around 55 to 65 mph, although he said the CHP is investigating the cause. Latham said the suspects were driving a truck that was “completely overweighted with automotive parts … such as engine blocks and rotors and brakes.”

"They just left it there,” he said.

It was the second major rush-hour traffic accident in two days. On Tuesday morning, a big rig hauling two empty trailers jackknifed on Highway 101, causing a seven-vehicle pileup that injured four people and stifled traffic for more than two hours.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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