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I-8 area near Fourth Street evacuated due to bomb scare

February 26, 2002|By DARREN SIMON

Staff Writer

A bomb scare on the westbound offramp of Interstate 8 at Fourth Street in El Centro early today led to the evacuation of the surrounding area, local authorities reported.

The incident occurred about 1:30 a.m. when El Centro police officers noticed a suspicious vehicle stopped on the dirt shoulder of the offramp.

The California Highway Patrol was called to the scene and officers found that the vehicle had no license plates and had other suspicious elements, according to Highway Patrol Officer Carlos Davila.

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For one, the vehicle's hood was open and there were battery cables running from the engine compartment to the trunk.

Davila added there was a rope tied to the right front shoulder harness and the rope was secured to the passenger door.

Concerned about there might be an explosive device rigged to the vehicle, a command center was set up and the Imperial County bomb squad was called in to investigate.

During the investigation, the area was evacuated. Some 30 people in the nearby Motel 6 — those staying in the front rooms of the hotel — were evacuated to the rear of the hotel.

Within two hours it was determined there was no bomb in the vehicle.

Authorities this morning had no information on who left the vehicle at that location.

>> Staff Writer Darren Simon can be reached at 337-4082.

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