Two people managed to jump out before a Jeep plummeted from the top level of a six-story parking structure in Santa Monica on Sunday, while the driver remained inside the vehicle, landed against a building across the street and survived, officials said.
The incident happened just after midnight at a parking structure on 1571 Second Street, two blocks away from the Santa Monica Pier, according to the Santa Monica Police Department.
Firefighters responded to the scene to find a Jeep propped against a building and a McDonald’s sign on the northwest corner of Second Street and Colorado Boulevard.
Crews worked on stabilizing the vehicle and extricating the lone person inside, the Santa Monica Fire Department said.
Police said the driver, a 20-year-old Twentynine Palms man, was “conscious, suffering minor injuries, and speaking with officers when they arrived.” But paramedics ultimately transported that patient to a trauma center in critical condition, according to the Fire Department.
The Jeep appeared to have broken through the wire fence on the sixth level of the parking structure, and the hood apparently crumpled from the impact.
Two other people who had been inside the Jeep managed to “jump out” before the car plunged off the garage, according to the Fire Department.
It’s unclear why the 20-year-old drove his vehicle off the structure, according to police. Investigators said they have not yet determined if he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol since the man was taken to the hospital.
There were no other injuries reported.
City officials were assessing the structural integrity of the parking structure.
Police urged anyone with information about the incident to call detectives at 310-458-8941 or 310-458-8491 .