A crash injured five people, including two California Highway Patrol officers who were stationed on the Golden Gate Bridge Thursday as people gathered on the span to protest COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
By 5:50 p.m., authorities had closed the No. 3 lane, which runs next to the pedestrian walkway, and stationed CHP officers and bridge workers in the lane after concerns arose that protesters might jump over a wall and into traffic in an effort to shut down the bridge, said Officer Andrew Barclay, a CHP spokesman.
As authorities monitored the rally, a Ford Explorer was driving in the left lane next to a Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District sweeper truck, Barclay said. One of the two vehicles changed lanes and the two vehicles hit each other.
After the initial crash, the sweeper careened to the right where it hit another truck owned by the Highway and Transportation District, the officer said. The truck was pushed into two CHP officers and three bridge workers.
After the crash, two officers and one bridge worker was transported by ambulance to an area hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Barclay said. The two other bridge workers were evaluated at the scene and released.
Both the Ford’s and sweeper truck’s drivers stayed at the scene and cooperated with investigators, he said.
The evening crash wasn’t the first incident on the bridge on Thursday.
Around 3:30 p.m., Golden Gate Bridge patrol decided to close parking lots for the span in anticipation of protesters showing up, Barclay said.
Shortly after, two tour buses pulled up to one of the lots and, finding it closed, stopped in the lanes of traffic and started letting passengers disembark, he said.
At some point, a man stopped his car ahead of the buses and started setting up signs, Barclay said. Officers told him to get back in his car, but he started fighting officers instead.
He was quickly subdued, arrested and booked into jail in San Francisco on charges including resisting arrest and refusing to follow a lawful order, the officer said.
Authorities don’t believe the man is affiliated with the rally’s organizers but noted that he was also there to speak out against vaccine mandates, Barclay said.
The second incident happened around 5 p.m. when two vehicles stopped in the middle of the span and blocked two lanes, he said. After about 10 minutes conversing with the drivers, they drove away. No one was arrested.
Further information about any of the three incidents was not available Thursday night.