A sleeping driver caused a chain-reaction crash with two other cars before flipping over on its roof on University Avenue in downtown Palo Alto Friday afternoon, which resulted in minor delays in the area, according to police.
The crash between three cars — a black BMW and two silver Nissans — happened around 2 p.m. in the University Avenue underpass near Alma Street.
A man fell asleep while behind the wheel of a Nissan Murano, which crashed into a Nissan Rogue stopped at a traffic light, police Agent Heather Souza said. Police don't know how fast the Murano was traveling, but the force of the first crash caused the Rogue to run into a black BMW also waiting at the light.
The Murano crossed over the center median and landed on its roof in an eastbound lane, she said. The car's airbags deployed and its roof and windows were smashed.
The Murano driver complained of pain, which is considered minor injuries, and was transported to a hospital, Souza said.
The Rogue, which was carrying passengers, stopped in the left westbound lane. It had minor to moderate damage on its front and left sides. The Rogue driver's head hit the windshield, but he didn't seek to get further medical treatment at a hospital, according to Souza.
The BMW, which was also transporting a passenger, had minor to moderate damage to its rear.
Initial police-scanner reports indicated passersby attempted to extricate a person inside the Nissan Murano but were unable to do so.
University was closed in both directions near Alma until shortly after 3 p.m. for the investigation, to tow the vehicles away from the scene and to clear debris from the roadway, Souza said. The crash resulted in minor delays on El Camino Real and Alma as traffic backed up and police directed traffic.
In light of Friday's crash, Souza advised the public to find an alternative means of transportation if they are too tired to operate a vehicle.