DUI, suspicious fire, flipped cars keep San Jose first responders busy on New Year's

It was a busy few hours in the South Bay for the beginning of 2021. San Jose first responders worked several scenes, from crashes, to a fire and a DUI accident.

"Never a dull day in San Jose. Always something going on," said a witness identified only as Kenny.

Around 4 a.m., one vehicle smashed headlong into a tree on Monterey Road and Skyway Drive as part of a three-car collision. 

Kenny was the first on the scene.

"The front vehicle with the most damage, there was actually three occupants in there, and they all bailed out," he said. "As soon as they hit the tree they just took off running right away. No time to even think about it."

Two additional victims in two trailing cars were not hurt. San Jose police are investigating. The public works department removed the tree from the roadway.

Around 4:30 a.m., we saw perhaps the most amazing and creative park job of 2021, so far. San Jose police said the driver of a white car complained his windshield fogged up, as he sped into the parking lot of a 7-Eleven near Berryessa Road and Lundy Avenue. The driver clipped a parked car, and flipped his vehicle – upside down – into a parking space. There are no reported injuries.

Also in the pre-dawn darkness, crews cleaned damage from a fire that erupted outside of the COVID-shuttered San Jose Museum of Art.

Fire officials said it was a small fire involving plywood.

"The engine company that arrived on scene, pulled an attack line and made quick extinguishment of that," said Capt. Jesse Allread of the San Jose Fire Department.

San Jose fire officials said the blaze is suspicious.

A museum spokeswoman said, "…there was no damage to the museum," and that, "We have pivoted our programming to move online," due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Around 7:30 a.m. New Year’s Day, a driver speeding on northbound Highway 85, lost control as he passed another motorist, at the Almaden Expressway exit. His 2005 Cadillac DeVille rolled several times down the embankment.

California Highway Patrol investigators believe the 26-year-old man behind the wheel was driving under the influence.

"Whether there’s a lot of cars on the road. Whether we’re quarantined, or there’s a pandemic...it’s just not safe to do in any type of situation," said Lee Tirona, of the CHP San Jose office.

CHP said the victim in that single-vehicle crash suffered significant injuries and is in stable condition in a South Bay hospital. Once he’s discharged, a report will be sent to the district attorney's office for the filing of charges.