7 Hospitalized for Possible Fentanyl Exposure After Impaired Driver Crashes Near Golden Gate Bridge: Police

A possible fentanyl exposure near the Golden Gate Bridge on Sunday morning caused road closures and sent several first responders to the hospital.

Four officers with the California Highway Patrol and a Golden Gate Bridge personnel were hospitalized on Sunday after a driver suspected to be impaired with fentanyl crashed into a median near the iconic overpass.

According to a CHP Marin preliminary report shared on Facebook, a "possibly impaired driver" crashed into the movable median at the northbound Golden Gate toll plaza just after 11:45 a.m. Sunday. The crash blocked traffic, and the driver was found passed out inside the sedan — along with a powdery white substance.

Two CHP officers who arrived on the scene, as well as a tow truck driver, quickly began to show symptoms of "possible fentanyl exposure and quickly became incapacitated," according to the preliminary report.

"Multiple ambulances were immediately requested along with additional Narcan units," the report stated. "The three individuals, along with the driver, were rushed to a local hospital for treatment."

"During the investigation, two more CHP officers as well as a Golden Gate Bridge Patrol officer began displaying symptoms of possible exposure and were transported to a local hospital for treatment and monitoring," the report said. "At this time all 7 people transported to the hospital remain there for treatment and observation."

The possibility of exposure prompted both the on and off ramps for Alexander Avenue off the northbound US-101 to be closed, and the area was deemed "both a crime scene and hazmat scene," the report said.

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About an hour after the preliminary report was shared on Facebook Sunday afternoon, the CHP announced that the four CHP officers, the Golden Gate Bridge Patrol Officer and the tow truck driver had all been released from the hospital.

"They will continue to be monitored but appear to be through the worst of it," the statement said.

About two hours after that, the Alexander Avenue ramps were reopened and the scene was deemed clear by the CHP.

It was not immediately clear if the driver was indeed impaired by fentanyl.

CHP Marin did not immediately return PEOPLE's request for comment, but CBS SF reported that the driver had been arrested on DUI and possession of a controlled substance charges and was booked into the San Francisco County Jail after being released from the hospital.

Fentanyl is an opioid drug 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

While pharmaceutical versions of the drug are approved to treat pain, illegally made fentanyl — often mixed with heroin or cocaine — is linked to "most recent cases of fentanyl-related harm, overdose, and death in the U.S.," according to the CDC.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP. 

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