A 19-year-old man is under arrest after he caused a major highway accident while attempting to flee from “zombies,” local authorities said.
Jeremiah Clyde Hartline was arrested in Temecula, Calif., after stealing a tractor-trailer filled with strawberries, crashing into several vehicles and injuring four people on Sunday, CNN reports. According to the California Highway Patrol, Hartline was under the influence of a substance that caused him to believe that he was being pursued by zombies.
According to local Officer Nate Baer, Hartline had been riding with truck driver Daniel Martinez, who picked him up in Tennessee after the teenager was kicked out of his home. Martinez stopped at an inspection site to fill out paperwork, leaving Hartline alone in his 18-wheeler. Hartline then stole the truck, causing a multiple vehicle accident and several injuries, Baer told CNN.
While Baer did not reveal which substance Hartline had taken, he did confirm that the illicit element caused the 19-year-old to hallucinate.
“He thought zombies were chasing him and clinging to the truck,” Baer told CNN.
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The CHP said Hartline lost control while fleeing from these “zombies,” striking several cars before overturning the 18-wheeler. “Hartline swerved the truck side to side to shake the zombies off,” Baer told The Mirror.
Hartline then exited the vehicle and attempted to hitch a ride from a passing van, the San Diego Union Tribune reports. Instead, the driver of the van handed him over to the authorities.
Hartline has been charged with six offenses, including assault with a deadly weapon, vehicle theft, and reckless driving. He pleaded not guilty to all charges on Wednesday, the Mirror reports.