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San Diego police probe taxi crash that injured 25

By Marty Graham

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Police said on Sunday they were looking into whether a taxi driver may have lost consciousness before his cab plowed into a crowd of pedestrians injuring 25 people outside a San Diego nightspot over the weekend.

The 48-year-old cabbie, who has not been publicly identified, was released from custody on Saturday following the early morning accident that left seven people critically injured, including a woman whose leg was severed below the knee.

The driver did not appear intoxicated after his taxi jumped the curb in the historic Gaslamp Quarter and ran into a crowd of people departing the Stingaree nightclub at closing time, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department spokesman Maurice Luque said.

"This appears to have been a horrible accident," he said.

The cabbie was beaten by enraged bystanders moments after the crash, and was treated for minor injuries, including a broken nose, Luque said.

Police estimated the cab was traveling at about 15 miles per hour when it rolled up on the sidewalk. Investigators were looking into reports that the driver initially told officers on the scene that he had blacked out just before the crash.

No charges have yet been filed in connection with the tragedy. The Emerald Cab driver leases the independently owned taxi from its owner, according to a radio dispatcher at San Diego Cab Co., which fields calls for the handful of Emerald Cabs operating in San Diego.

On Saturday, club owner James Brennan released a statement expressing sympathy and support for the victims.

(Editing by Steve Gorman and Peter Bohan)