Crash Blamed On Zombies

Crash Blamed On Zombies, A Tennessee man, 19, is accused of taking a big-rig Saturday and causing a crash that injures 7 people.

A big-rig crash that blocked Interstate 15 in Temecula for hours Saturday evening, April 6, was caused by a 19-year-old driver who claimed he was on the run from the walking dead, authorities said.

“He said zombies were chasing him and he had to get out of here,” said Officer Nathan Baer, a spokesman for the California Highway Patrol.

The crash was no laughing matter. Not only did it cause a massive traffic jam, but seven people were injured, one of them seriously, CHP officials said.

Jerimiah Hartline, a Tennessee resident, stole a semi hauling a trailer full of strawberries from the California Highway Patrol weigh station on Interstate 15 in Rainbow about 6 p.m., Baer said. He sped north, driving erratically into Temecula, where he struck a Toyota Tacoma, causing it to hit a Toyota 4-Runner and a Mercedes, a CHP news release said. He continued north, striking two other cars. Hartline lost control of the truck, flipping it onto its side, blocking all four northbound lanes near Temecula Parkway.

Baer said Hartline jumped out of the cab and got into a van whose driver had stopped to help. Hartline demanded a ride, but the driver was having none of it, Baer said. He pulled Hartline out of his vehicle and bystanders detained him until officers arrived, Baer said.

Because the big-rig was hauling a full load of strawberries, it took hours to right the truck and clear the road, Baer said.

“It was a complete mess,” he said.

Hartline didn’t admit to officers that he had been behind the wheel of the big-rig and initial reports from witnesses suggested another person might have been in the cab, Baer said.

“He just said that he was being chased by zombies,” Baer said.

Baer said it had not been confirmed whether Hartline’s altered state was caused by drugs.