Update: Southbound 99 collision kills motorcycle rider

August 9, 2014 at 4:42 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle traffic alerts | 50 Comments

4:42 PM: Police are closing all lanes of southbound Highway 99 because of a crash reported to be parallel with Holgate, not far north of the West Seattle Bridge exit. No details yet; a witness texted to us that they believe a motorcycle rider was involved. Medics are headed northbound in the southbound lanes to reach the victim(s).

4:53 PM UPDATE: Tweeted by Seattle Fire: The patient is a 61-year-old man who was riding a motorcycle that collided with a car. He is being taken to the hospital with head trauma, and CPR is under way. Meantime, since the injuries are life-threatening, that means the Traffic Collision Investigation Squad is likely to be summoned, and the road will be closed for some time. Police are working right now to get other vehicles off southbound 99, which they describe as “completely gridlock” – here’s the latest image from the south end of the elevated structure:

5:07 PM: Metro confirms via Twitter that it’s working on rerouting buses.

5:29 PM: SFD has confirmed the rider died. Police are continuing to clear traffic off southbound 99 but also advise it will be “difficult” in the area for some time.

6:08 PM: SPD also confirms southbound 99 will remain closed – from Battery St. Tunnel southward – until investigators have finished, likely a few more hours. No official report from police yet but the other vehicle involved is reported to be a RapidRide bus. A KING 5 journalist tweeted this photo:

8:11 PM: Southbound 99 has reopened.

9:09 PM: That was according to this SPD tweet – but commenters say it is NOT fully reopened, only to Atlantic. We are hoping SPD will clarify. As of right now, this traffic camera south of the crash scene does seem to verify the stretch from stadiums to West Seattle Bridge remains closed.

9:23 PM: That camera now shows traffic moving across the last southbound stretch, indicating SB 99 has now fully reopened.

50 Comments

  1. Driving Northbound… looked very serious. Traffic on 99 already backed up through downtown.

    Comment by Monosyllabic Girl — 4:47 pm August 9, 2014 #

  2. I drove past the scene on 99 NB right after it happened. Praying for the victim. C line Rapid Ride pulled to the side and a person in the middle of 99 SB.

    Comment by SDVAdmiral — 4:48 pm August 9, 2014 #

  3. Just drove by this. A regular person was doing CPR very hard, it was a motocyclist. I went through ahead of the aid. I could hear the sirens but not see them, had JUST happened. Awful. Sending good thoughts, hope he makes it. Bystanders were helping with air, directing traffic.

    Comment by jennifer — 4:52 pm August 9, 2014 #

  4. I live in an apartment overlooking viaduct. No new traffic has been coming down 99 south for 30 minutes. Looks like the last of the traffic is now passing under the top level, but southbound completely absent of new traffic.

    Comment by dbc — 4:55 pm August 9, 2014 #

  5. Thanks for the updates. Police are working on logistics of getting traffic off 99, sounds like via the Atlantic exit? Also sounds like they are trying to get some extra help to work with what happens as that traffix exits, so if you’re among those stopped, be patient…

    Comment by WSB — 5:03 pm August 9, 2014 #

  6. My spouse was the one going CPR–off-duty firefighter. We didn’t witness the accident but came upon it pretty soon after it happened. They’re going to investigate it as a fatality and are going to have us all turn around somehow? No idea how that’s going to happen.

    Comment by Lilith — 5:07 pm August 9, 2014 #

  7. Downtown at 1st and Washington, complete gridlock. Got pushed off 99 and now basically just a standstill… I’m sad for the victim.

    Comment by Shawn — 5:08 pm August 9, 2014 #

  8. Lilith – Royal Brougham/Atlantic is where they are routing people off, per scanner. Meantime, thank you to your spouse for doing what they do, off- and on-duty.

    Comment by WSB — 5:10 pm August 9, 2014 #

  9. Been sitting in backup for almost an hour. Heard from others on scene iit’s a fatality now.

    Comment by Livin' in hood since '91 — 5:26 pm August 9, 2014 #

  10. Yes, SFD has just tweeted that. Updating the story.

    Comment by WSB — 5:28 pm August 9, 2014 #

  11. Now SPD is calling it a fatality. Via Twitter: @SeattlePD The entire viaduct is closed SB due to fatality collision investigation. Officers are working to clear the road of all vehicles.

    Comment by Tom — 5:29 pm August 9, 2014 #

  12. My husband had to back up almost a half mile in order to get off (at Atlantic?) He was headed over the low bridge last I heard.

    Comment by alison — 5:30 pm August 9, 2014 #

  13. Off 99 now, turned around and headed to 1st.

    Comment by Cheryl — 5:30 pm August 9, 2014 #

  14. I was a witness. Was a terrible accident and can honestly say I’ve never been witness to anything like it. Only ever saw things like that in videos. To actually see it first hand has really shaken me a lot. Hope I never see anything like that again.

    Comment by Greg — 5:41 pm August 9, 2014 #

  15. Just drove north on 99 through downtown to Fremont, and the backup extends at least to the aurora bridge.

    Comment by Waterworld — 5:43 pm August 9, 2014 #

  16. Don’t take the low bridge… It’s up adding
    To the traffic in the area

    Comment by Sara — 6:14 pm August 9, 2014 #

  17. There doesn’t seem to be a good route anywhere. One person on Twitter suggested getting to Airport Way and heading here from there …

    Comment by WSB — 6:19 pm August 9, 2014 #

  18. I want to give kudos to WSB Editors. Their headlines and coverage are always respectful and human. I just checked another news source, which I won’t name other than to say it is a major news presence in Seattle who should know better. Their headline says: “Fatal motorcycle crash shuts down viaduct before M’s game.”
    The last three words shouldn’t be there in my opinion because they make it seem that all we care about is being inconvenienced before a game. It takes the stress off the fatality and puts it elsewhere. My heart goes out to the motorcyclist and others involved in the crash, and, again, I want to thank WSB for their human coverage. Yes, WSB says that SR99 is shut down, which is important information, but the emphasis is on fatality.

    Comment by iggy — 7:10 pm August 9, 2014 #

  19. @Greg– I’m sorry you’re feeling shaken. Don’t hesitate to seek someone to talk to if you feel like you’ve been effected by what you witnessed.

    I feel for the family of the crash victim. Hope all stuck in traffic make it home as quickly and safely as possible!

    Comment by Andi — 7:26 pm August 9, 2014 #

  20. We passed the scene driving NB as it happened. I was behind the wheel and saw enough; Mrs. jwright saw more and she was affected…very sad when we heard the rider died. Difficult to comprehend how something like this can happen in daylight, with dry roads, relatively light traffic, etc. Be safe out there and hug your loved ones!

    Comment by jwright — 7:37 pm August 9, 2014 #

  21. RIP to the victim. I don’t know why they kept his body there for so long, even under the cover. For his dignity’s sake, I guess I wish they would have taken him out of view for all of Seattle to see.

    Was caught in that bedlam (and THEN the bedlam on alki) for the last couple of hours – not sure if SPD is going to shut down 99 each time there’s an accident. I remember the last time they decided to shut it down (a lot of us were caught in that, too), not pleasant – and frankly dangerous to have Seattle traffic so backed up like this in every southbound vicinity, north of the fatality.

    Sorry you were a witness Greg. My thoughts are with the victim, his family and anyone involved (including you Greg and all witnesses, these things are so hard to see).

    Comment by ScubaFrog — 7:38 pm August 9, 2014 #

  22. Oh God not another one. Prayers and love headed out into the ether for his family, friends, witnesses, and other driver(s) involved. Accidents are so horrible for ALL the survivors. Sending an extra dose of love out into the world tonight. If you need some for ANY reason, please consider yourself one of the recipients.

    Comment by AG — 7:51 pm August 9, 2014 #

  23. Here`s what i did:
    Took second ave,
    Left on Jackson,
    Right on sixth,
    Right on lander,
    Weasel way over to 1st ave ws bridge entrance.
    Worked geat aside from traffic lights.

    If its confirmed about metro, NO LOVE.

    Comment by Pilsner — 8:00 pm August 9, 2014 #

  24. If you see this before you see the added line in the story, Southbound 99 is open again. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 8:15 pm August 9, 2014 #

  25. Southbound 99 is not open, we were just diverted to first…

    Comment by Raina — 8:58 pm August 9, 2014 #

  26. Actually just drove down from N seattle and SB 99 is still closed. Detour @ Atlantic street.

    Comment by DAA — 9:02 pm August 9, 2014 #

  27. My apologies. SPD tweeted two hours ago – while I was away from the keyboard for a bit – that it had been reopened. Seemed a little early … but here’s what they said. I am trying to get clarification. I suspect they meant that it reopened PART of the way; the cameras indeed show no traffic headed southbound, south of the stadiums. https://twitter.com/SeattlePD/status/498290225744216064

    Comment by WSB — 9:07 pm August 9, 2014 #

  28. How awful. My heart goes out to the victim and their loved ones, the responders and witnesses.

    Comment by Sue — 9:10 pm August 9, 2014 #

  29. Update: Camera now shows traffic moving on the last southbound stretch. Just in time, as the Mariners’ game is over. http://www.seattle.gov/trafficcams/images/SR99_Lander.jpg

    Comment by WSB — 9:23 pm August 9, 2014 #

  30. South 99 is fully open. We just drove it from Battery Street to West Seattle. The bus is still on the shoulder, but all lanes are open.

    Comment by Reign FC Fan — 9:23 pm August 9, 2014 #

  31. I’m unsure what the comment “metro no love” means, but I can guarantee you this was an accident, and whether the bus driver was or was not at fault, you can believe they feel horrible about this, and especially that someone was taken from their loved ones. Bus drivers are professionals, and I can’t tell you how many times I see cars turn in front of them, insert themselves in front of the bus with little to no room to spare, and yet the drivers usually negotiate the awful Seattle traffic without touching anyone. An investigation has already begun, and every thing will be looked at, witnesses interviewed, no stone left unturned. Peace to the driver and the people who witnessed this horrific accident, and to the loved ones of the deceased.

    Comment by Livin' in hood since '92 — 9:24 pm August 9, 2014 #

  32. Thanks, Reign. Per my comment and the 99 camera at Lander (which we use in our traffic coverage every weekday morning), it appears to have fully reopened about quarter past 9 … two hours after they reopened the stretch from Battery St. to Atlantic.

    Comment by WSB — 9:29 pm August 9, 2014 #

  33. We happened upon the scene shortly after the accident, before there were even any sirens….
    I just want to thank the people who stopped to give CPR, direct traffic and whatever else. I saw the motorcycle and the man in the road. I can not get the age out of my head. I am heartbroken for his friends and family and feel terrible for the other driver involved.
    I have no idea how it happened, but this is another reminder to be extra aware of motorcycles. There are so many out this time of year and they can sneak up on you.
    Much love to all involved.

    Comment by Lolapop — 10:52 pm August 9, 2014 #

  34. Pilsner: from a 35 year Metro Driver with a 35 year safe driving record.. We all hope that your NO LOVE comment was not as arrogant and uninformed as it appears. A person died, fellow humans witnessed it, and you have to make a stand on something we know no facts on yet. I believe somewhere above it says a car also was involved. May you never have to go through what I do daily, literally, in avoiding accidents. Especially in this tech age where every other driver is scrolling or texting.. even on the freeway. I see it everyday and am always avoiding accidents that others cause due to my training. The story will come out with WHAT and HOW it happened. Keep your hate for Metro off of here. No one knows what happened yet. Prayers for all involved

    Comment by KD — 11:25 pm August 9, 2014 #

  35. KD – You have one of the toughest jobs out there and I have nothing but respect for you and the other professionals who drive for Metro. This was a tragic accident and I can only imagine how your colleague must be feeling right now. I hope Pilsner’s comment is removed. Only an idiot would say something that obtuse and insensitive about this horrible tragedy.

    Comment by M — 1:38 am August 10, 2014 #

  36. I have now heard,(but not solid facts yet) that the motorcycle took the bend and lost control and slid into and under the bus. Not confirmed, but that the bike hit the bus and not the bus hitting the bike. Our driver is pretty shook up. Thanks for your ‘support’ Pilsner. (A number of Metro employees also read the WSBlog).

    Comment by KD — 2:14 am August 10, 2014 #

  37. As of right now, there still is no official word – even preliminary – from investigators. Sometimes SPD Blotter will have at least an early summary of a major crash, but not this time – maybe later today? If not, we’ll be checking with SPD’s media unit on Monday. The word “collision” doesn’t make any suggestion as to who hit who, only that there was contact. The only fact that seems to be confirmed, sadly, is that the rider did not survive.

    Comment by WSB — 3:44 am August 10, 2014 #

  38. The motorcycle driver was my brother, Gary Bykonen. We are very saddened by all this and if anybody who directly saw the accident would feel comfortable contacting me with any information it would be appreciated. Lana Baker dragonstonefarmseed@gmail.com

    Comment by lana baker — 9:14 am August 10, 2014 #

  39. Prayers to the family who has lost their loved one and also to the metro driver and those who have witnessed this accident. Thank-you to the people who assisted in aiding the victim. As for the negative comment regarding Metro. People are suffering enough emotionally just say no more. We could all be in a situation like this and I know it is my biggest fear as a driver.

    Comment by Laura — 12:43 pm August 10, 2014 #

  40. KD;
    Now You are Speculating As Pilsner Did.

    Comment by D.D.S. — 1:27 pm August 10, 2014 #

  41. RIP Gary Bykonen

    Comment by LDS3 — 10:36 pm August 10, 2014 #

  42. Thank you all first responders – Gary was a dear friend – we are all in shock and deeply saddened-

    Comment by Digels — 11:37 am August 11, 2014 #

  43. True, all drivers that commute Mon -Fri are focused on getting to work safe and sound. I’m usually in a car and see many other cars/trucks/semi’s driving along and I need to second guess what they might do without their blinker on, thinking they have right of way because they are bigger than my compact car, drivers on their phone,etc. … it is a jungle out there!

    Comment by lori — 3:25 am August 12, 2014 #

  44. Any update on this fatal crash? Not seeing anything on the SPD Blotter. Thank you.

    Comment by Maggie — 6:17 am August 12, 2014 #

  45. RIP Gary. Hope you are at peace.

    Comment by Jason — 9:31 am August 12, 2014 #

  46. Sad tidings. So true lori… even worse on a motorcycle “you are the bumper”.

    Comment by Thomas M. — 7:08 pm August 12, 2014 #

  47. Are there any plans for a public service or memorial?

    Also, any updates on the investigation? I am at a loss in finding info, not unlike maggie.

    Comment by Pilsner — 7:56 pm August 14, 2014 #

  48. I asked SPD the other day. They had nothing to release. I haven’t seen an obituary for Mr. Bykonen; I don’t even know if he was a West Seattleite – public records had an address in another part of the city, but the databases are now getting to be a few years old. If I find out anything more I’ll publish something separate … TR

    Comment by WSB — 8:22 pm August 14, 2014 #

  49. Just following up to see if you learned anything yet.

    Comment by ZDC — 8:23 pm August 19, 2014 #

  50. Rest in peace Sandman xo
    Laura x

    Comment by Laura — 4:56 pm August 20, 2014 #

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