Update: 5 hurt, including SPD officer, in Highland Park crash

September 1, 2014 at 9:18 pm | In Highland Park, West Seattle news, West Seattle police | 28 Comments

ORIGINAL REPORT, 9:18 PM: Another big police/fire response – this time an “automobile rescue” call at Highland Park Way/West Marginal Way SW. This also involved an SPD officer, per Twitter.

9:35 PM: SFD has extricated the officer. Three other people are reported hurt.

10:09 PM: We have just talked at the scene with SPD night commander Capt. David Proudfoot. He says the car was coming down the hill to a ‘fast backup’ call in South Park when the officer apparently lost control, hit the pole, ricocheted into a passing car.

4 people taken to the hospital, no major injuries.

11:04 PM: Another update – Seattle Fire now says there were five people in the car with which the SPD officer collided.


The driver, in her 30s, went to the hospital along with three girls, two 8 year olds and a 9 year old. A 1-year-old boy in the car was taken home by his dad, SFD says. Investigators are likely to be on Highland Park Way a while longer; when we left, Seattle City Light was also there checking on the pole and wires.

12:47 AM: A summary is on SPD Blotter; the only update from the briefing at the scene is further clarification of how the two vehicles collided – that the SPD car had gone backward into the pole and was then hit by the other car.

28 Comments

  1. It is a HUGE response. Highland Park is closed from W. Marginal Way. Not sure where closed off on other side. There were tons of police cars, fire, ambulances. Not sure what is going on but lots of emergency vehicles are there.

    Comment by Steph — 9:35 pm September 1, 2014 #

  2. I drove by this on my way out of west Seattle, must have just happened because the street wasn’t closed yet. also the car still had a roof. A Firetruck passed us on Highway 99/599 a few minutes later.

    Comment by Tyler — 10:06 pm September 1, 2014 #

  3. Good to know everybody is ok.

    I slid heading down Olson Way yesterday – I just assumed the rain and accumulated road grime had lubed the surface…I guess I was pretty lucky not to lose complete control though. Yikers. Let’s all be careful.

    Comment by slickery road — 10:23 pm September 1, 2014 #

  4. Wow, between this and the 35/Barton incident I’m having a hard time catching up with all the news tonight from twitter/news. Not a good feeling. Thanks for the reports WSB.

    Comment by Too wild — 10:29 pm September 1, 2014 #

  5. Man, what is up tonight? Look for a revision of high speed pursuit/response policies in the next few weeks.

    Comment by Hosedown — 10:29 pm September 1, 2014 #

  6. Highland Park Way is blocked off at the top of the hill at Holden as well. Looks like investigation still going on

    Comment by Vbmart — 11:05 pm September 1, 2014 #

  7. Yes, I was just updating. The whole hill will be closed for a while because of the investigation – though nobody had life-threatening injuries, I believe the involvement of an SPD officer means a full-scale investigation, as was the case with 35th/Barton, which we’re told is now open again. Thanks! – TR

    Comment by WSB — 11:08 pm September 1, 2014 #

  8. Great coverage again WSB!

    Comment by WS — 11:26 pm September 1, 2014 #

  9. Kinda tired of this stuff..Hopefully the cops get sued big time over these crashes because frankly, they will ticket people for going 21mph in the 20 mph new school zones (which is ridiculous) and then cause serious accidents by “driving” like they have zero skills (which they probably have).
    .
    PS expect more of this kinda thing as WS becomes more crowded and the traffic slows down even more. Not gonna be pretty when skilless cops wiz thru increasingly congested WS intersections – we only got a taste so far

    Comment by Deanhasitright — 12:50 am September 2, 2014 #

  10. I hate high speed chases and car accidents. People just need to.slow down yeah you may need to get to an ER but slow down get their alive.

    Comment by Angel McClellan — 12:56 am September 2, 2014 #

  11. Is there any chance of SPD releasing the dashcam video of the crash anytime soon?

    Comment by tim — 8:16 am September 2, 2014 #

  12. I like the contrast between what is written here and what got published on the SPD Blotter.

    Comment by Brian — 8:23 am September 2, 2014 #

  13. A few things about that, if you’re interested:

    The SPDB post was published after we were briefed at the scene; it’s written by a public-affairs detective who in turn is getting briefed by phone/e-mail (sometimes they go out to the scene but in last night’s case, Capt. Proudfoot, night commander on duty for multiple precincts, went instead – multiple TV stations showed up so somebody had to go on camera).
    .
    Though I didn’t get into it (mostly because I typed most of the sparse in-the-field prose on my phone, I had to divert to this from an errand and didn’t have any equipment with me BUT my phone), the road was indeed slick – I was driving eastbound on the bridge and getting rained on when one responder to this was heading westbound. The second car was not visible from the south-side sidewalk on HP Way, where us media types were, until Engine 26 left (we stood around a while, along with a couple TV crews, to wait for that), and once it was, its front-end damage made more sense with the scenario of it hitting the pole-stuck SPD car than what the captain had said earlier.
    .
    We usually video-record scene briefings, but the fire truck was loud and the audio wouldn’t have come out, so I just edged as close as I could and turned my ear to listen. – TR

    Comment by WSB — 8:33 am September 2, 2014 #

  14. Me and my girlfriend who lived at the top of Highland Park and noticed the police response that led up to the accident. The reason this accident occurred I believe is because two officers were responding at the same time so they were two police cars responding together. So they were pretty much racing each other and coupled with bad weather are what I believe to have caused the accident.

    Comment by The man — 1:25 pm September 2, 2014 #

  15. Dean,_ I fully agree with you. We almost lost our friend in high school in 1988 for this same reason. He’s disablef or life now because of a police car running a red light. My friend was in a coma and nobody knew if he’d make it. I understand the urgency of getting to an incident but speed kills. Remember the baby killed in his crib on Announce when a police chase happened?

    Comment by Alki Resident — 2:59 pm September 2, 2014 #

  16. What the heck were the police going to that they had to drive so fast for?

    Comment by unknown — 4:41 pm September 2, 2014 #

  17. There was a “fast backup” – officer needs help – call in South Park, which is also part of the Southwest Precinct zone, involving a “fight disturbance” – don’t know any more than that.

    Comment by WSB — 4:52 pm September 2, 2014 #

  18. sometimes speeding doesn’t get you there at all

    Comment by au — 8:14 pm September 2, 2014 #

  19. Not surprised by the “obvious” comments; “sometimes speeding doesn’t get you there at all”. Excellent afterthought. Nor surprised by the is-that-really-a-question comments; “What the heck were the police going to that they had to drive so fast for?” The doughnut shop had a 2-for-1 sale.
    Then there’s “I know why this accident happened…..” You don’t know why or how the accident happened….
    …babies dying in cars…zero driving skills??
    The most you’ll drive at high-speed is your mouse on broadband.
    And lastly the I-hate-police comments; So you hope the police get sued? You’re obviously upset or lying about the one over the speed limit ticket. Incite much?

    Last year SPD investigated over 12,000 accidents. Of those 12,000 there were 28 fatalities and 172 serious injuries. So according to some of you SPD has committed so much Mayhem-some might get that-that you troll this blog with errant facts, lies and hyperbole.

    How often do you REALLY see the police involved in accidents that warrant such berating, speculation and malice? Actually you will find that the numbers for officer-involved accidents are relatively low.

    But don’t take my words for the truth,after all I’m just here feeling entitled like the rest of you..

    Comment by Milo — 11:36 pm September 2, 2014 #

  20. @Milo: I think the fact that there were two civilian/police auto collisions within a day of each other stoked a lot of ire in the locals, and rightly so.

    Comment by Brian — 7:30 am September 3, 2014 #

  21. Thank you Milo! I too am tired of all the anti-police grumblings and entitled whining! I can’t tell you how common it is to see people who don’t pull to the right for emergency vehicles. Stopping in place isn’t enough; if you can pull over- DO IT! It doesn’t matter if the emergency vehicle is travelling in your same direction or not; GET OUT OF THE WAY!
    Having read the articles, it seems that both police cars were hit, therefore the accident was not CAUSED by the police vehicles. Let’s get our facts straight people.

    Because more criminals have guns, because of armed robbery, theft, (the list goes on) I’m grateful for the SPD and all they do! I hope no one sustained serious injury.

    If ever I have the need to call them, I certainly HOPE they are driving to my assistance quickly!

    Comment by garden_nymph — 8:29 am September 3, 2014 #

  22. Where in this article does it say

    “both police cars were hit, therefore the accident was not CAUSED by the police vehicles”-

    what I read from the SPD blotter report linked here on WSB, I see that “the car slid on pavement that was slick with fresh rainfall. The vehicle slid until the backend of the patrol car collided with a pole.” ie, driving fast on a rain slicked road, not someone else in the way. In the other story about the u-turn pulled on 35th, yeah, your point might be correct, but not here.

    sometimes I do see SPD flying down the street with flashers and no sirens and that freaks me out. But I wasn’t at either of these incidents…

    Comment by sam-c — 11:45 am September 3, 2014 #

  23. According to a special report published by the FBI; “Police pursuit records provide some frightening statistics.” The report didn’t include any data for accidents that occur when police are rushing to an incident of some kind, which appears to be the case here, but no doubt it would have made the report even more frightening. The report also said that the problem was continuing to get worse every year, but that accurate data was nearly impossible to come by, mostly because police departments underreport accidents. Here are a few of the highlights:
    -
    -Police pursuits kill anywhere from 350 to 2500 people a year, and may injure up to 55,000.
    -42% of the deaths and injuries involve innocent bystanders who have no connection to the crime or infraction.
    -1 in every 100 high speed chases ends in a fatality, half of those within the first 2 minutes.
    -90%+ of the deaths occurred during traffic or misdemeanor pursuits, and counter to the notion of protecting the public from harm.
    -Only 9% involved felonies.
    -
    Other government studies have shown that the reason most people don’t immediately yield to speeding police cars is that they simply don’t see or hear them until it’s too late. The idea that our roads and highways are filled with morons who ignore speeding cop cars is absurd. They’re actually filled with people like you and I, and pretty much everyone else, who just wants to get out of the way whenever we see a cop car come screaming at us. It’s startling. Or you could be one of the unfortunate ones who simply don’t see or hear them coming and end up dead or injured. Cops need to slow down. Ask the FBI.

    Comment by M — 12:52 pm September 3, 2014 #

  24. @ M,

    Great post – thank you for the info and effort.

    Milo & garden_nymph, did you read that one? Does that answer your question Milo?

    Or do we need to inform you about the rampant use of unnecessary deadly force, the militarization of the U.S. police forces, ….

    Comment by StopTheMadness — 3:54 pm September 3, 2014 #

  25. I live at the top of the hill….the city makes a ton of money on speeding tickets with a 30 mph on that hill. yet I see cops all the time going well past 30 on that hill….and they aren’t responding to calls as if they were they would not stop at the red light at the bottom of the hill.

    Comment by joel — 6:29 pm September 3, 2014 #

  26. ….At least throw out statistics that are relevant to your rants. The numbers for the State of Washington? Okay how about King County? Seattle?..Let’s narrow it down to West Seattle?..and try and keep it within the 21st century…..Well? Numbers? Where are the maimed and dead…? There aren’t any.

    And “Joel” do you know the details of every officer’s actions during the course of their duties?…And because an officer goes from point A-Z quickly and then stops at a red light that somehow makes your comment valid. Where were these officers going? What type of call was it?

    Enlighten me so I can join in on the vilification.

    I guarantee your tune would be different if it was you getting your arse handed to you out there. Would you criticize the situation so harshly then? And if it was your mother/father? Spouse? Child?

    A little homework for you: read the latest public safety report (Boston, MA) and their finds on the correlation between delayed response times by EMS and preventable deaths….the major cause of delays…civilian drivers.

    Why so many of you want to demonize SPD is beyond me. Some of you actually believe the police respond to situations-that most of you would not face willingly- with an attitude of “damn everyone else and get out of my way!”

    Police officers know the inherent risks of “driving code” and they are equally aware that they are more likely to die or be seriously injured in a collision than being shot or stabbed.

    And sincerely-happy motoring and be safe. Because the life you save might be mine!

    Comment by Milo — 7:33 pm September 3, 2014 #

  27. ….the rampant use of unnecessary deadly force, the militarization of the U.S. police force..

    Do you have a single thought of your own or a morsel of empirical input to back that comment up? When have you ever seen M-1 Tank in the junction?…Other than SWAT and their armored vehicle the only “hardened” vehicle you have actually seen had BRINKS written on the side.

    SPD declined an offer from the military to take possession of two surplus Humvees. You criticize a police department you know nothing about. It’s very obvious that you believe one law enforcement agency is the same as the next….And then you drool over errant data presented to you by another [DOJ].

    RAMPANT use of unnecessary deadly force???..I won’t even bother explaining that to you.

    But chew on this…. There was the long-held belief that law enforcement would always be needed because so many chose to be lawless. But that’s not the truth so much anymore. COPS will always be needed because so many choose to be victims.
    …..And NO my question was not answered.

    Comment by Milo — 8:05 pm September 3, 2014 #

  28. Milo – First of all, nobody in their right mind is talking about getting rid of the police, or that they don’t play an important role in keeping us safe. Almost all of us can remember some situation where we’ve been very glad and relieved to see them show up. There’s nothing like a good cop when things go bad. But, I do love it when you get all frothy like that, Milo.
    .
    Second, I’m not much of a drooler.
    .
    Third, my point is that cops kill and injure far too many people, including themselves, because they drive too fast. People don’t see them until it’s too late. Less than 10% of the accidents involve a serious crime. Over 40% of those killed or injured are innocent bystanders, usually during a traffic violation chase.
    .
    But, it sounds like you’re OK with all the death and destruction stuff, Milo. The FBI didn’t really care about that stuff either. The main point of the report was that these accidents are costing city governments hundreds of millions of dollars in court settlements each year. And that backing off on the accelerator for minor traffic violations was a better investment than going for the $200 speeding ticket. Anyway, I thought you’d at least appreciate how many lawyers and government employee’s would be out of work if cops weren’t killing and injuring all those stupid people who get in their way.
    .
    I have no idea what the quote below means, Milo. I think there are some verbs or nouns missing:
    “COPS will always be needed because so many choose to be victims.”

    Comment by M — 1:49 pm September 4, 2014 #

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