The driver drove his Jeep off Parking Structure 8 early Sunday morning. (SMFD)

A car fell from the top floor of a downtown parking garage early Sunday morning.

The Santa Monica Police Department said the Jeep drove off the sixth floor of Parking Structure 8, the Santa Monica Place parking structure, near 2nd Street and Colorado Avenue and landed on the sign of a nearby McDonalds. The driver, a 20-year-old man from Twentynine Palms, was taken to a nearby hospital in critical condition and is now recovering in stable condition, said Lt. Joseph Cortez.

Cortez said officers are still investigating the cause of the incident and were unable to determine if alcohol or drugs played a factor because the driver was receiving medical treatment.

SMPD sent out a warning at about 12:30 a.m. regarding the incident and asked people to stay away from the area. The roads were reopened at about 3:30 a.m.

This is the second time a car has broken through the railings in a downtown parking structure.

In June of 2018, a car broke through part of the safety cables in Parking Structure 5 and was suspended over 4th Street for about an hour while firefighters worked to secure the vehicle. In that incident, the driver inadvertently pressed the accelerator instead of the brakes sending the car over the edge, however, safety cables kept it from falling onto the street.

Some downtown lots are receiving replacement guardrails this year as part on an ongoing maintenance program. Guardrails in Parking Structures 1, 2, 4 and 5 were installed more than 50 years ago and no longer comply with current building code standards, which has narrowed the allowable spacing between railings and barrier cables.

City Council will discuss the rail replacement project at its Tuesday meeting.

The Santa Monica Police Criminal Investigations Division is handling the investigation into Sunday’s incident. Anyone with information is asked to contact detectives at (310) 458-8941 or the Watch Commander at (310) 458-8491.

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1 Comment

  1. Was it driver error or the way we taught them to brake? Yet another Type 1 or Type 2 right foot pedal error? Happens to drivers of ALL, repeat ALL ages and gender. This is not that complicated. ‘A vehicle did not stop in time’. It does not matter who is at fault. 19 pedestrians and cyclists will die today and we need a solution. Why are those in charge at NHTSA and the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) not wanting to scientifically compare the ‘Killer” right foot braking method with the safer, easier to learn and retain with age, Left Foot Braking Method and either prove it inadequate or adopt it? ‘That’s the way it’s always been taught’, is not a scientific justification. It’s just Tradition and Testosterone. Note: Simply using your left foot to brake is NOT repeat NOT the Left Foot Braking Method.

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