Three people dead after car ploughs into homeless camp underneath bridge

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Three have died and six others injured after a car crashed into dozens of people underneath a bridge on Monday.

Witnesses said people were sheltering inside a tunnel when the crash happened due to the cold weather.

Shortly after 9am local time on Monday, March 16 authorities were called to reports of a driver veering onto the sidewalk near San Diego City College in California.

The tunnel is known as a makeshift shelter for the homeless who were sheltering from stormy weather overnight.

Several had tents set up in the north side of the tunnel, where the vehicle is believed to have struck, NBC reports.

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria said: "This crash did not have to be so devastating. A street is no place for anyone to call home. It’s not humane or safe to keep allowing our unsheltered neighbours to sleep under bridges, in alleys or in canyons.

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"We must take action to provide more compassionate solutions for people experiencing homelessness. Our thoughts are with those who are injured, and we express our deep condolences to the family and friends of those who lost their lives this morning."

NBC reported that five victims were rushed to hospital after the incident where at least two patients were in critical condition.

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A witness named Ronnie Williams described seeing around 30 or 40 people in the tunnel.

He told NBC: "It was silent for a second and then it just became very, very loud. Everybody screaming in pain and in agony.

"You could tell they were hurt, like for real, for real."

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Mayor Todd Gloria later confirmed that people were being allowed back to the site of the tragedy to retrieve their belongings and authorities will help connect homeless individuals with shelter and services.

It is understood that a 71-year old man was arrested at the scene after getting out of his vehicle, believed to be a Volvo, after the crash.

According to news reports he was a local man from San Diego and was arrested on three counts including "vehicular manslaughter".

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