Update: Crash in Highland Park; 7 taken to the hospital

(Photos by WSB co-publisher Patrick Sand)
4:10 PM: Multiple ambulances are being called to 12th and Holden in Highland Park for a crash. We’re on our way to find out more.

4:16 PM: Per radio communications, 2 vehicles, 7 patients, at least two seriously hurt. Large emergency response in the area so stay clear TFN.

4:30 PM: Our crew on the scene says the vehicles are a van and an SUV. Multiple SFD medic units and private ambulances there. Photo added. The wrecked vehicles are on the south side of Holden, about 100 yards west of 12th.

4:45 PM: Seattle Fire’s public-information officer is on scene, so we’re expecting some additional information from our crew shortly. The 12th/Holden area has long been flagged by the Highland Park Action Committee and other area advocates/neighbors for safety concerns.

4:56 PM: The Traffic Collision Investigation Squad will be coming to work on this, which means the area is likely to be closed at least a few more hours. If you are heading west on Holden, you will have to detour onto 12th; if you are heading east on Holden, you will have to detour onto 13th.

5:11 PM: SFD spokesperson Lt. Sue Stangl confirmed to us and other media at the scene that seven people were taken to Harborview Medical Center – two of them children – but none is believed to have life-threatening injuries. In all, she says, the first crews arriving at the scene were told that 10 people in all were in the two vehicles; one had to be extricated (cut out) of the wreckage.

Though some at the scene reported smoke, neither car caught fire, she said.

5:32 PM: Briefing video added (and shortly afterward, two more photos). We’ll check on SW Holden’s status in a few hours – please let us know if you see it reopen sooner (via comments here or text/voice 206-293-6302, our 24/7 line) – thank you.

9:37 PM: Drove by to be sure SW Holden had reopened – it has.

ADDED 8:16 AM MONDAY: Seattle Police have published a summary on SPD Blotter. The only information beyond what we’ve already reported includes the vehicles’ directions and the fact neither driver is believed to have been impaired:

… At about 3:52 pm on Sunday, it is believed that a Hyundai Santa Fe was travelling westbound on SW Holden. At the same time, a Dodge Caravan was travelling eastbound on SW Holden. For reasons still to be determined, while the cars were mid block, they collided head on.

Seattle Fire responded and treated the three adults and two small children that were in the Santa Fe. All the occupants were transported to Harborview Medical Center. Two of the adults suffered serious, but non life-threatening injuries. The two adults (one man and one woman) in the Dodge Caravan were also transported to Harborview, one with serious but non life-threatening injuries. The three young children in the Caravan were evaluated at the scene by Seattle Fire, but they did not have to go to the hospital.

As is routine in serious collision investigations, a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) officer responded to the hospital and evaluated both the female driver of the Caravan and the male driver of the Santa Fe for any signs of impairment. It was determined that neither driver had any signs of impairment from drugs and/or alcohol.

38 Replies to "Update: Crash in Highland Park; 7 taken to the hospital"

  • Helen June 2, 2013 (4:12 pm)

    Aha, I wondered…I’m west of SSCC and heard a lot of sirens.

  • Arlene Carter June 2, 2013 (4:14 pm)

    Yes – hearing a lot of sirens. Will stand by for update.

  • Todd June 2, 2013 (4:15 pm)

    Yep, sounds bad. a lot of sirens.

  • Lohoho June 2, 2013 (4:15 pm)

    Non-stop sirens. Hope everyone involved is ok.

  • Jb June 2, 2013 (4:16 pm)

    That was a lot of sirens for crash. Hope everyone is ok.

  • Corvonn June 2, 2013 (4:25 pm)

    Does anyone know what type of vehicles were involved in the crash yet? My husband may have been driving in that area.

  • datamuse June 2, 2013 (4:29 pm)

    22 units according to real-time 911. Dang.

    • WSB June 2, 2013 (4:48 pm)

      Datamuse – some have been dismissed. The initial callout always remains “live” until the last vehicle has cleared the call.

  • OnHolden June 2, 2013 (4:45 pm)

    I really hope everyone is okay. The area between 16th and Holden northwards to Highland Park Way is absolutely horrible.

    People driving through on Holden go way too damn fast.

    Anyone trying to turn onto Holden off of any of the neighborhood streets have basically blind turns to deal with.

    I actually plan my driving so I do not have to make left or right turns onto Holden.

    There needs to be some traffic lights installed and people driving down Holden need to slow the f down.

  • datamuse June 2, 2013 (4:51 pm)

    Thx WSB.

  • Arlene Carter June 2, 2013 (4:57 pm)

    Agree with onholden. It’s so dangerous trying to negotiate Holden from 16th all the way up to the extremely treacherous entry onto Highland Drive in either direction. Hope everyone involved is going to be ok.

  • WMF June 2, 2013 (5:04 pm)

    I agree with everything OnHolden said 100%. I was about to write almost exactly the same statement.

  • J Sisk June 2, 2013 (5:15 pm)

    I live on 12 and Holden at the Holden Vista Apartments, and saying turning onto Holden is difficult is downplaying the notion just a bit. I can turn out of the drive way between 11th and 12th, and be rendered blind by not only the cars parked on the side of the street, but also the crest of the hill on 11th. If I go behind the apartments and try to turn off of 11th, same issue with cars parked damn near to corner of both sides of the street. Turning off of 12th means not only contending with the parked cars, but that area of holden seems to be the where the vortex of car speed is established. Day or night. The cars are on you SO FAST its unbelievable. You dont do your standard check left check right when pulking onto holden. You have to do it at least 3 times literally. Check left clear. Check right clear. Pullout slowly. Car is flying down the hill from the left. Out of nowhere. Backup and try again.

  • HP Dogwalker June 2, 2013 (5:34 pm)

    I like to walk my dogs to Riverview, but crossing Holden is so treacherous. It is rare for anybody to stop to let me pass. When I start to cross, I have to run because cars driving east up the bend don’t see me, and cars driving over the crest westward are going too fast. I have long thought a crosswalk with pedestrian lights should be installed at 12th and Holden.

  • McGruff June 2, 2013 (5:47 pm)

    Sounds like another great place for speed cameras + tickets for offenders. Too bad we have too many self-appointed ‘civil libertarians’ who are more interested in personal expediency (ticket everyone else for speeding but when I’M going 20 over ‘coz I’m late, give ME a pass) vs. public safety.

  • Westseattledood June 2, 2013 (6:06 pm)

    Awful! Hope all will be ok.

    In a car or walking, it is just plain scarey and I just feel lucky when I make it across.

    Very bad situation there.

  • West Seattle Hipster June 2, 2013 (6:14 pm)

    As a long time reader of the WSB, I have seen quite a few stories of accidents on the stretch of Holden between 16th and Highland Park, including some where they vehicles landed in people’s yards.

    Yet SPD mysteriously deploys its revenue enhancement squad on the big hill on Highland Park. Perhaps its time to shift focus?

  • old timer June 2, 2013 (7:25 pm)

    IMO, some kind of traffic calming is really appropriate along Holden in that area. Maybe stop signs would slow things down a bit, along with a light at the Holden/Highland Park Way intersection.

    It seems that all one has to do is drive that stretch once or twice to see how it is crying for SDOT attention.

  • AJP June 2, 2013 (8:03 pm)

    Speed bumps!

  • datamuse June 2, 2013 (8:32 pm)

    WSH, point taken, but I drive that hill on Highland Park Way twice every weekday and you would not believe how fast people go on it. Even if you (general you, not you specifically) think that 30 mph is too low a speed limit, I think most of us would agree that 50 mph and higher isn’t appropriate either.
    But yeah, that stretch of Holden is a mess. Speed bumps might help.

  • M. June 2, 2013 (9:42 pm)

    “…mysteriously employs its revenue enhancement squad”?
    No mystery, it’s a speed patrol and they enforce the 30 mph speed limit on HPW, it is much needed.
    There are new pedestrian crossing bulbs on Holden in that area, remember to stop and allow any and all waiting to cross. An unmarked crosswalk is still a legal crosswalk, you must allow peds. to cross. Ignore those honking behind you, do the right thing.

  • Chad June 2, 2013 (10:26 pm)

    I grew up on 14th and Holden. Some of my earliest memories, were horrific collisions between 9th, and 16th on Holden.

  • Chris June 2, 2013 (10:43 pm)

    Long term, that whole area needs to be rethought. For a great many people it is their primary route to and from downtown, and anytime there is a problem on the bridge it is the secondary route for hundreds more. Because so many streets don’t connect through Delridge, traffic gets funneled down this street which is nowhere near the size needed to function as that kind of arterial (not to mention the blockade formed by zig-zagging around the fire station).

    As West Seattle grows, there need to be one or two more arterials planned to funnel traffic and development east to west, allow for dedicated bike corridors, and provide a safe means for pedestrians to cross all the above. Until then, I agree with calls to calm traffic such as pedestrian crossings with sidewalk bump-outs into the parking lanes, improving sight lines at intersections, removing street parking at hot-spots, traffic cameras, etc. I live on 35th and see first hand how fast people will drive through residential streets, and we’ve got to keep pushing for change.

  • trickycoolj June 3, 2013 (12:42 am)

    I commute through there every day and 100% agree it can’t handle the capacity from 7-9am and 3-6pm on week days when there are no problems with the high bridge. Add in a wreck on the high bridge and you’ve got yourself a fustercluck all the way back to Home Depot.

    I noticed traffic counters strung across the street there a few weeks back. Wondered if they were trying to gauge volumes for a traffic light for the HP Way/Holden mess. I know they did something similar for my old street in Northgate (107th and Meridian) because it was a cut through for people going to SB I-5 from Aurora and as my visiting family said “was taking your life into your own hands” SDOT deemed there to not be enough traffic volume despite the constant line of cars attempting to race across Meridian. Seems more and more typical that SDOT requires a traffic fatality to actually spend money making our streets safer. No fatality? It’s not a problem to SDOT.

  • SCQA June 3, 2013 (12:51 am)

    5 members of my family were involved, one child and one adult still at Harborview Medical Center, they all will be ok.
    Thanks seattle medic one, y r the best.

    • WSB June 3, 2013 (1:10 am)

      Thank you for the update, SCQA, we hope the hospital stays will be short. – TR

  • ca June 3, 2013 (6:48 am)

    yikes, glad not fatal. They need cameras or something in that area!! I did read somewhere that a dog(s) were killed in accident? Is this true WSB?

  • kayo June 3, 2013 (7:45 am)

    Thoughts out to your family SCQA and the other injured. So glad no one was killed. That stretch of Holden is horrible. I have sat on a side street trying to pull out for long minutes before as car after car races by heading west on Holden. I avoid having to turn onto Holden because it is so bad, especially at rush hour.

  • Alan June 3, 2013 (7:45 am)

    The entire section between Dumar Way and Highland Park Way needs to be rethought. Traffic going east on Dumar has to cross one lane of traffic, in order to make a left turn onto Holden, where there should be a left turn lane and signal. With only a yield sign on Dumar, there is a dangerous weave as people traveling south on 16th move right to avoid waiting behind the left-turners. That is frequently followed by a short drag race when it turns out the car in front of the left lane is actually going straight. Fortunately there is already thought going into the Holden-Highland Park Way intersection, as it is even more of a disaster for pedestrians than it is for cars.

    The biggest problem on crossing Holden (or any busy street) is ignorance. Most drivers do not know that there is an imaginary crosswalk at EVERY intersection, as an extension of the sidewalk. I’ve tried to force the issue, when nobody is stopping, by stepping out into the street. People will swerve, honk and make rude gestures, but very few will stop.

  • Bertha Christ June 3, 2013 (7:50 am)

    I hate speed cameras. I refuse to support them. I say install speed bumps and/or roundabouts. Have a cop there during high commute times for a week. That’s enough time to alert vehicles there is a speed limit and it will be enforced.

    • WSB June 3, 2013 (8:15 am)

      CA – Patrick was one of two reporters there (the other was from a TV station; the other TV stations were there with photographers, and us plus TV crews were it for media who actually came to the scene while the emergency crews were still there and firsthand information was available). What Lt. Stangl is shown in our video as saying is the entirety of what authorities knew as the emergency response was concluding. In addition, SPD has just published its summary:
      with nothing more than what we reported over the span of hours we covered this firsthand, except for who was traveling in which direction – adding to the story.

  • Beth W June 3, 2013 (9:13 am)

    We got caught in the re-route on the way home around 6:30pm yesterday and are SO relieved to hear that no one died (especially considering how totaled the vehicles were, with air bags deployed and shattered glass and bent frames). My heart goes out to those kids, as any bad traffic accident can be very traumatic (especially when you aren’t the one in control of the vehicle).

  • Vanessa June 3, 2013 (5:30 pm)

    How fast could they possibly been driving in that residential neighborhood, to cause THAT much damage?

  • Bobbie K June 3, 2013 (5:38 pm)

    SCQA – Glad to hear your family will be ok. There were many folks at the scene who helped support your family through that horrifc accident & trauma. My son & I happened upon the scene right after it happened. My son helped your family by bringing them water, their phone, etc. & basically reassuring them & helping to keep them calm til help arrived. I directed traffic until police arrived. I got aquainted with your family’s dog, who was being very protective of his family, by taking him for a walk (away from the scene)& letting him do his business on every pole & bush he spotted and giving him ear & back scratches as well as lots of water. Not “tooting our horn” – just wanted to let you know we are a part of an amazing, caring community – your family was not alone & we loved them for you til you could connect!

  • m June 3, 2013 (10:56 pm)

    @ Bobbie K – so grateful for people like you in the community!

  • robert June 4, 2013 (5:01 pm)

    the one problem with cross-walks is that almost NO ONE uses them , to lazy to walk 25 feet to the corner. so they walk diagonaly across the street,,much easier. the parking in that zone is a mess, to many multiple family houses and two car familys and NO off street parking..we need more scooter cops, much easier to get off a scooter than get out of a car..

  • Guzman June 7, 2013 (7:23 pm)

    I am so HAPPY EVERYONE made it out alive. When I received my friends email this morning telling us he was involved in a life changing accident, I thought the worst (not that this isn’t horrible) I figured lives, limbs and bones were lost. Happy to know almost everyone walked away. My condolences to the victims that car had to be extricated from the vehicles. My prayers are and will always be with you. Our families here in NYC are praying for you all. Blessings for a speedy recovery.

  • Dave Kassens June 15, 2013 (2:48 pm)

    This intersection was on my paper route in the late 50’s and it has needed a stop sign for 70 years.

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