A hit-and-run accident that brought traffic to a standstill in central Sacramento during rush hour may have been the result of a road rage incident, police said.
The crash occurred just before 4 p.m. on North 16th Street, a thoroughfare that funnels commuters from downtown Sacramento to Highway 160, the Capital City Freeway and Interstate 5. The street is usually congested on weekday afternoons
Sacramento Police Department spokesman Sgt. Bryce Heinlein said information that came in with the initial call at 3:57 p.m. indicated the crash may have been caused by a deliberate assault rather than an unintentional accident.
A police helicopter searched the area for a suspect vehicle but failed to locate it. The vehicle fled "outbound" from the city, he said.
The collision left a mangled red Honda Fit on the sidewalk, smashed between a tree and what looked like a badly damaged utility box.
Four patients were taken to the hospital, one with major injuries, authorities said. Photos posted online by bystanders showed emergency workers attending to a small child and two women.
The Sacramento Fire Department advised drivers to find other ways home after the crash closed north 16th Street at Basler Street, near Richards Boulevard.
“Traffic signal out, lanes blocked, find alternate routes,” the department said on Twitter.
Around 4:30 p.m., traffic on 16th Street was backed up through downtown and midtown Sacramento south to Q Street, according to witness reports and Google Maps.
Later, it began moving slowly as the accident scene was cleared.