Update: Crash blamed for power outage south of West Seattle; SPD says they had tried to pull over car after ‘narcotics sale’

(UPDATED THURSDAY MORNING with crash update from SPD, which investigated)

(Added photo, by Nate: Top center, sideways power pole caught in wires)
ORIGINAL REPORT, 8:54 PM: Getting outage reports from some of the areas hit early this morning. Checking with City Light. We’ve heard from Shorewood so far – if you’re elsewhere and without power, please let us know, since the utility’s official mapping tends to lag.

9:07 PM: Checking out a report that this might be related to a crash on 116th SW in White Center.

(Added photo, by Andrew Kliphardt)
9:31 PM: We’re at the crash scene now, on 116th SW in White Center, near 10th.

(WSB photo by Patrick Sand)
King County Sheriff’s deputies have several blocks of 116th shut down. While City Light’s map isn’t updating, its customer hotline is apparently saying 4,200 customers are out of power – about the same as this morning’s outage (which was caused by a “failed insulator”). If you have to drive through this area, note that lights are out on part of the 16th SW/Ambaum arterial – 16th/107th is on but then power is out again south of there – treat any nonfunctioning signal as a four-way stop.

9:52 PM: City Light’s map now shows the full outage – we’re adding a screengrab above. At the crash scene, we learned that two people were hurt and taken to Harborview. With a pole and wires taken out, it was too dangerous to get close.

(Photo courtesy Tim Clemans)
10:06 PM: City Light says via Twitter that crews are routing power around the crash scene and that “most should be back on within the hour.”

10:10 PM: … or sooner; one text just came in from someone who has it back, and commenters are reporting they do too.

11:15 PM: Still about 1,200 out of power, mostly in White Center, according to the SCL map.

11:29 PM: Seattle Police are involved in the investigation; we don’t have official information yet on why. The Traffic Collision Investigation Squad is on scene. Commenters say the crashed car flipped in the back yard of a home – Andrew Kliphardt sent this photo:

2:11 AM: Still 1200+ without power.

(Added photo, by Andrew Kliphardt)
9:24 AM: The rest of the area got its power back overnight. Meantime, KCSO confirmed that Seattle Police investigated the crash. Here’s what SPD spokesperson Drew Fowler tells WSB:

SPD narcotics and ACT officers were conducting an operation just south of Seattle when they attempted to stop a vehicle involved in a narcotics sale. The vehicle refused to stop and left at a high rate of speed. Consistent with policy, our officers terminated and did not pursue. However, the suspect vehicle continued at a high rate of speed and collided with a power pole causing the loss of power to numerous homes in the White Center/Burien area. SPD’s TCIS investigated the incident and the two suspects were taken to HMC with non-life threatening injuries.

ACT = Anti-Crime Team; TCIS = Traffic Collision Investigation Squad.

9:57 AM: We also asked SCL about the coinciding patterns between the outage caused by this crash and the one about 20 hours earlier. Spokesperson Scott Thomsen: “Unfortunately, the power lines attached to that pole are the same feeder line that was affected by the insulator failure the day before.”

57 Replies to "Update: Crash blamed for power outage south of West Seattle; SPD says they had tried to pull over car after 'narcotics sale'"

  • Leah August 13, 2014 (9:05 pm)

    28th and 110th is out…same as this morning.

  • WSBURIEN August 13, 2014 (9:05 pm)

    Just heard like thirty sirens head down first ave south headed north past 116th ave s. Could this be related?

  • courtney August 13, 2014 (9:07 pm)

    tophat area (4th & 106th, just south of Olsen) out again.

  • Steve August 13, 2014 (9:08 pm)

    Power out again here – 3rd Ave S and S 116th St.

  • Dangerous August 13, 2014 (9:09 pm)

    104th and 9th ave sw has no power, heard alot of airens after the power went out, possibly some sort of accident?

    • WSB August 13, 2014 (9:12 pm)

      Yes, apparently so. We’re on our way to check.

  • TW August 13, 2014 (9:11 pm)

    Lights flickered three times about 9:00 in Fauntleroy, but power stayed on…thankfully.

  • Mike August 13, 2014 (9:15 pm)

    116th and 27 th is dark . Why would an accident on 1 ave and. 116 th knock out my power 2-3 miles away ?

    • WSB August 13, 2014 (9:15 pm)

      Because that’s the way power systems work. Something miles away might affect your power, something right next door might not.

  • Shana August 13, 2014 (9:16 pm)

    114th and 25th near Shorewood is out.

  • Kristi August 13, 2014 (9:17 pm)

    116th and 30th in the dark still!

  • Amy August 13, 2014 (9:22 pm)

    112th st & 26th ave is out too.

  • Sally August 13, 2014 (9:23 pm)

    My girlfriend texted me to ask if I had power, she has none at about 12 SW/110 and I am at 18 SW/107th and I have power. Just a FYI

  • Verde August 13, 2014 (9:26 pm)

    Out on 3rd Ave SW btw 102nd and 104th. Same thing happened around this time last year when a car hit a transformer in the area.

  • Ben August 13, 2014 (9:26 pm)

    Lights flickered 3 times here in Arbor Heights but still up.

  • Lauren August 13, 2014 (9:27 pm)

    Per the city’s outage hotline, power should be restored shortly after 11 pm

    • WSB August 13, 2014 (9:30 pm)

      Lauren – those are just wild guesstimates, even according to SCL, but thanks.

  • danielle August 13, 2014 (9:28 pm)

    Out off 99th st southpark area same as this morning

  • Marianne August 13, 2014 (9:32 pm)

    No power all around Evergreen High School. Many, many police cars and fire trucks in front of Evergreen High School. People out all over on the street trying to see what happened.

  • Steve August 13, 2014 (9:32 pm)

    Tweet from SCL “@SEACityLight: outage at sw 116th and 10th SW due to car pole accident. No time for restoration as crews are investigating scene.”

    • WSB August 13, 2014 (9:38 pm)

      Yes, that’s in our story and we are at the scene. Thanks. I don’t know why their map isn’t updating but hope they’re working on it.

  • Casey August 13, 2014 (9:41 pm)

    Hoping it wasn’t fatal..

    • WSB August 13, 2014 (9:51 pm)

      Two people were taken to Harborview but that’s all we know at this point.

  • Linda August 13, 2014 (9:46 pm)

    Power out at 109th Sw and 29th. It cycled 3 times just like last night

  • Thomas August 13, 2014 (9:52 pm)

    Saw a car fly by our house, west bound at 4th SW & SW 116th just before 9:00 and seconds later lights out and telephone wires were whipping back and forth followed by six unmarked police cars with lights flashing flying by.

  • tim August 13, 2014 (9:57 pm)

    Thank you. This post lead me to do something other than return home where theres no power.

  • Wseakell August 13, 2014 (10:00 pm)

    What does “no time for resoration” mean? No power on 107th & 19th which is really annoying since the people on 18th have power. We’re currently on our deck staring longingly at the lucky ducks that still have power!

    • WSB August 13, 2014 (10:02 pm)

      It means they don’t know how long it’ll take to fix. After writing about power outages for some years, you start to understand why they make no sense – the systems are connected in ways that don’t seem logical – I wish I had a good link to point to, to explain. Then there are chain-reaction problems, with an outage along one feeder taking out others … and so on. Sometimes they can route around a trouble spot like the pole that’s at the epicenter of this…

  • Jaimie August 13, 2014 (10:08 pm)

    Power just came back on at 116/21

  • Wseakell August 13, 2014 (10:08 pm)

    Power back on at 107th & 19th! Hope the people involved in the crash are ok.

  • coffee August 13, 2014 (10:09 pm)

    Just restored at 28th ave SW and 109th!

  • BQ August 13, 2014 (10:13 pm)

    Lights are back on near 109th and 28th as of 10:08pm

  • Amy August 13, 2014 (10:14 pm)

    Power is back on at 112th st & 26th ave. Hope all is restored soon and no one hurt.

  • Wseakell August 13, 2014 (10:17 pm)

    And thanks for the explanation and continued excellent reporting WSB! :-)

    • WSB August 13, 2014 (10:24 pm)

      Thanks for the kind words. This whole enterprise really started with a power outage (2006 windstorm), so we are extra attentive when they happen …

  • Cammie August 13, 2014 (10:24 pm)

    That is the EXACT same outage map as the one from this morning. Looks to be same screenshot. Weird. I hope those people are okay. I am at 106th and 18th and did not lose power but did lose internet. Centurylink said it would be up within 24 hours but it is already back up.

    • WSB August 13, 2014 (10:28 pm)

      I can attest to the fact the screengrabs are from different times, with the SCL map returning to “normal” for many hours in the middle… Will have to ask SCL tomorrow how it happened that the exact same areas were affected …(since we drove much of the zone en route to the crash scene, I can attest to the accuracy, anyway) … TR

  • Rat City Girl August 13, 2014 (10:30 pm)

    Power back on at 11th Ave SW and 108th! Thanks for your coverage!

  • Carl August 13, 2014 (10:34 pm)

    116th and 8th SW High speed car drove thru a telephone pole thru a chain link fence and is in the back yard of a home. Car is destroyed

    • WSB August 13, 2014 (10:36 pm)

      Thanks, they wouldn’t let us anywhere near the scene but if anyone has a photo, please consider sending – I don’t think we’re going to get official info from KCSO tonight. editor@westseattleblog.com

  • Cammie August 13, 2014 (10:42 pm)

    WSB, I didn’t think you had made any mistake, I just think either they sent the wrong image, or it is just a way too eerie coincidence that the exact same area was affected.

  • nate August 13, 2014 (10:48 pm)


    From myphone. I have a better pic if my power was on :)

  • Slow August 13, 2014 (11:00 pm)

    I saw the car it’s on it’s top and in the backyard of a home. They can’t restore all power until the car is out of the yard and the investigation is over. Slow Police chase from north Seattle then they went nuts and very fast into a pole

  • Alejandra August 13, 2014 (11:01 pm)

    Im on 8th ave and 116st and we dont have power back on yet. Hopefully it comes back soon!

    • WSB August 13, 2014 (11:11 pm)

      Thanks to those who have sent scene photos – I’ll be adding to story shortly. Any photo(s) of Seattle Police at the scene would be helpful too – can’t even think about following up with them until morning, as they are dealing with a bizarre SWAT-involved scene elsewhere in the city …

  • tim August 13, 2014 (11:10 pm)

    Im hearing that there was an undercover operation going on at the time. Its so strange that seattle police is the only agency here.

  • jackie August 14, 2014 (7:29 am)

    we are half a block away on 116th st our lights didn’t come on till 4 am

  • tim August 14, 2014 (8:52 am)

    There’s a new pole up. Crews are still working on the wires. One of the patrol officers told me Seattle is handling it because they attempted to pull the vehicle over.

  • unknown August 14, 2014 (1:08 pm)

    We live on 30th Pl SW & 115th and lost our power when all of this happened last night but it came back on around 10pm

    BUT we also lost power sometime the night before (12th) becasue everything was blinking when I woke up at 445am. LOL!!! I said to the hubby “are we having those rolling black-outs like California used to have”?

  • payrollgirl August 14, 2014 (4:43 pm)

    Just drove by where this car crash happened in a round about way on my way home from work cause I’m nosey and boy whoever was driving did some serious damage to those people fence, yard… hope no one in the house was hurt.

  • Christy August 14, 2014 (8:44 pm)

    Afraid this is the terrible accident I just heard about and possibly involved a friend of my son’s. Hope everyone survives and thoughts to the families.

  • Saweto August 15, 2014 (8:10 am)

    I’m not sure who’s worse, the scumbags putting everyone at risk to evade the police, or the police putting everyone at risk to catch low level substance abusers. All part of their never ending failing war on drugs.

  • Thomas M. August 15, 2014 (1:12 pm)

    The police did not pursue. These boneheads kept the pedal to the metal anyway. The cops were correct and endangered nobody. The injured dirtballs broke the laws, failed to yield, recklessly sped even though not pursued, caused their own injuries, inconvenienced thousands of citizens, and are now racking up medical bills the tax payers will end up paying. Get a perspective. The war on drugs is a failure, but it is the cops job to pursue it until the politicos change the laws. They probably like it about as much as you do. Write your legislator.

  • lonng August 24, 2014 (11:27 am)

    The driver died yesterday. Another passenger died at the scene.

    • WSB August 24, 2014 (11:45 am)

      I am sorry to hear that. Without names, there is just no way to follow up on these, and they were never described by authorities as fatalities … if by any chance there is more information you can share, please consider e-mailing us at editor@westseattleblog.com … we don’t have to quote or identify you, but without names I won’t be able to find out more … TR

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