Update: 35th SW reopens in Westwood after 5-car crash, 1 hurt

ORIGINAL 2:09 PM REPORT: Thanks to the WSB’ers (including Bruce, who sent the top photo) who sent word of that rollover crash, which is the reason for the “heavy rescue” call in the 8600 block of 35th SW (south of Thistle; map). Avoid the area. 2:16 PM UPDATE: Here’s what we’ve found out at the scene – 1 person has been taken to the hospital. Two vehicles involved, as you see in the photo. No word yet on the circumstances. 35th is closed between Thistle and Trenton (the crash is closest to Cloverdale); side streets are closed in the blocks leading up to that area as well. 2:25 PM UPDATE: Police tell us at the scene that a few other cars may have been hit, but not as badly damaged – they are still trying to sort it all out – so don’t expect the scene to reopen quickly. 2:47 PM UPDATE: This WSB photo from Christopher Boffoli shows you how far north of the scene 35th is closed:

We have more information, too. The person who was hurt was in the flipped car and is not believed to have life-threatening injuries. That vehicle apparently didn’t see the gray vehicle, which was trying to make a left turn into a driveway on 35th, and they collided; three other cars were hit in the ensuing spinouts, though damage was not major and no one in those cars was hurt. As soon as the damaged vehicles are cleared, police tell us, the road will reopen, though there are a few things (like flattened tires) that are making for slower going in the tow effort. We’ll keep checking on the scene so we can update when everything’s open again. 3:25 PM UPDATE: 35th is clear and open again. Meantime, another photo from Christopher shows one of the other three vehicles that were hit:

4:09 PM UPDATE: Video from Christopher as the police and firefighters investigated and cleaned up:

And an ironic side note: One of the stations that responded to this crash, FS 32 in The Triangle, apparently had been training/practicing earlier in the day for this kind of situation – nearby resident Sharonn Meeks had noticed the activity and sent us a note even before the crash. The practice car was still at the station when Christopher went by afterward to check it out:

ADDED LATER: Our video of the flipped car being turned upright for towing. Not an easy job.

34 Replies to "Update: 35th SW reopens in Westwood after 5-car crash, 1 hurt"

  • West Seatle neighbor January 10, 2010 (2:22 pm)

    I just got home from this area.. They detour you at Thistle St if you are going South and at Trenton St if you are going North. The paralell side streets are pretty packed with cars that are parked at their homes and with detoured traffic.

    Hope everyone involved in this accident are going to be ok.. and to everyone out and about today.. drive carefully.

  • WSB January 10, 2010 (2:24 pm)

    Thanks for the further details. Christopher and Patrick are both on-scene but even knowing the extent of the closures isn’t as comprehensive as having gone thru the detour … TR

  • kat January 10, 2010 (2:24 pm)

    good lord how fast were they going and who cut who off .. Im suprised it doesnt happen more often

  • West Seatle neighbor January 10, 2010 (2:36 pm)

    The way people were driving just coming home from there, I thought there might be a similar scene up by the Chevron Station. A car turned Right onto 35th from Holden St. and almost took out an SUV. Lukily the SUV driver was paying good attention and was able to brake safely.

  • Mr Bigglesworth January 10, 2010 (2:37 pm)

    All of the people involved in the accident are ok according to the firemen on scene. They are trying to sort it out either it was a head on because someone drifted over the middle line, which I am surprised doesn’t happen more. The other scenerio is one car was coming down off of Cloverdale and was hit by someone on 35th.

  • Lauren January 10, 2010 (2:38 pm)

    It *does* happen quite frequently! I’ve lived on this corner for 10 years & it happens so often that I haven’t even looked outside on this one.

    Please, people: slow down!! Target will still be there after that car you’re trying to beat passes you.

  • JumboJim January 10, 2010 (3:19 pm)

    GEEZ that was scary when I saw that photo. I live right around the corner and my wife has a silver Nissan just like the one in the photo. Luckily I was able to call her cel and make sure that wasn’t her involved.
    I sure hope nobody was hurt too seriously. Please take your speed seriously – this is an all too easy thing to be involved in. Slower speed = more reaction time…

  • coffee January 10, 2010 (3:25 pm)

    You might recall a few months back I was driving on 35th going north and the spot where the sign that tells you how fast you are going, someone passed me and it read something in the 50’s, I cannot remember now. Really, are you in that much of a hurry???

  • West Seatle neighbor January 10, 2010 (3:27 pm)

    I second that Lauren.. **SLOW DOWN** everyone is in such a hurry to get where they are going, talking on cell phones, texting etc. I was thinking the same thing about Target.. it will still be there if you do the speed limit. I’m glad no one was seriously injured. Its scary enough to be in just a crunch accident, let alone a roll over. Take care everyone.

  • 35thistoolongandfast January 10, 2010 (5:39 pm)

    I agree with the slow down comments. I avoid 35th because of the texting/phones. I live near there and always see people on their phones. The length of the straight street just causes speed increases no matter what. However, this was more about a car taking a left turn and not seeing it. Note to self don’t buy a gray car.

  • Mike January 10, 2010 (5:44 pm)

    another thing to think about….I think I recall in driver’s ed that it was infact illegal to cross the double yellow…I wonder who’s going to be at fault in this

  • WSB January 10, 2010 (5:58 pm)

    >>>>Can I turn left over a double yellow line?

    Two solid yellow lines between lanes of traffic means neither side can pull into the on-coming lane to pass another vehicle. However, you may turn left over a double yellow line that is less than 18-inches in width if you do not block traffic. If the yellow line is solid and wider than 18-inches, or if the space between double lines is crosshatched, it’s illegal to turn left. [SMC 11.55.140 Left turns between intersections –Limitations].<<<<

  • Citizen Sane January 10, 2010 (6:36 pm)

    This is ridiculous. I avoid 35th when I’m riding my scooter for precisely this reason. I think it’s time for the SPD to really set up some speed traps on 35th. The speed limit is 35, but it seems like everyone is doing 45 or better. Think of all the revenue generated by speeding tickets! Think of it as a tax on scofflaws. I’d rather have them paying the municipal budget than me. Actually I would have no problem with photo radar cameras catching speeders. If folks knew they were on 35th, they’d probably slow down.

  • SomeGuy January 10, 2010 (6:45 pm)

    $10 says neither car had their headlights on. It’s good practice to turn them on, day or night. You never know when that little bit of extra visibility might save you some serious pain…

    • WSB January 10, 2010 (7:04 pm)

      SomeGuy, I am glad to hear someone else espouse that. I’ve been doing it for years.

  • Velo_nut January 10, 2010 (7:30 pm)

    Reason #572 why 35th should be 1 lane each direction with a center turn lane.

  • Mike January 10, 2010 (7:34 pm)

    I stand corrected. :)

  • Westie January 10, 2010 (7:51 pm)

    Did the police report mention excessive speed as a cause in this crash? Lots of talk about it in the comments.

  • West Seatle neighbor January 10, 2010 (8:52 pm)

    Traffic on 35th is HORRIBLE with it being two lanes in each direction. I would HATE to see it reduced to 1 each way and a turn lane. I have to disagree with that idea. Not a good solution. People just need to slow down and do the posted speed limit. Its not that hard.

  • Brenda January 10, 2010 (8:56 pm)

    WSB quotes above from the transportation department “You may turn left over a double yellow line that is less than 18-inches in width IF YOU DO NOT BLOCK TRAFFIC”. When there is a line of cars waiting behind these left turners, isn’t that blocking traffic? I really do want to know. I see this on Fauntleroy and 35th all the time and it seems very unsafe.

  • Case sensitive January 10, 2010 (9:26 pm)

    What makes the SUVs turn upside down when they crash? Do they have springy springs?

  • miws January 10, 2010 (10:14 pm)

    Mike, don’t feel bad about thinking that turning across a double yellow was illeagal. I’m 99.99999999% sure that it was that way for many years.


    Getting frustrated seeing drivers do it so much, I asked an SPD Officer, that was a customer of mine at a job I held 6+ years ago now, about the legality of it. She replied with the same info that TR posted.


    Although I haven’t had a car for over 14 years now, and thus rarely drive anymore, one of my pet peeeves is that it is now legal, and like Brenda, I find it confusing, because to me, in the scenario she points out, that is blocking traffic.


    It seems to me, that it would just be a lot simpler, and safer, to go back to making that, and U-Turns, outright illegal again.


    Due to the popularity of SUV’s and other vehicles that don’t have that great of a turning radius, it’s difficult for the drivers of them to make a U-Turn in one, smooth, motion. They generally have to back up a bit, and in doing so can cause others to have to slam on their brakes.



  • TURNOVER Nulu January 10, 2010 (10:38 pm)

    Case sensitive,
    SUV’s roll over far more often than cars because of their high center of gravity.
    SUVs’ highly promoted myth of invincibility (while motoring offroad in the Grand Canyon) and the ability to ride above other vehicles has cost thousands of lives.

  • rob January 10, 2010 (11:34 pm)

    comments are teeming with some of the many reasons i avoid the 35thobahn. used to live near the the holden intersection and can’t think of how many accidents i saw there in the 4 yrs i lived there.
    i have always wondered why the city doesn’t just line the length of it with speed cameras.

  • WS Steve January 11, 2010 (12:04 am)

    I walked up the street just after this happened in time to see the SFD and paramedics pulling the person out of the car. When I reached the scene I witnessed a man chuckling and joking and using his cell phone to take a picture of his girlfriend/wife as she stood in front of the scene. While the firemen were pulling the person from the car. Like it was the f!@#!@g Space Needle or something.

    Ok, if the people in the overturned SUV were their budz and they already knew everyone was ok…then maybe they aren’t douchebags.


  • Donuts for all January 11, 2010 (9:56 am)

    I thought that when there are breaks in the double yellow lines you are allowed to turn – and they are very clearly present in the photos shown.

  • miws January 11, 2010 (10:52 am)

    Oh, yeah, Donuts. I didn’t notice that in the pic, but my understanding always was that it’s okay to turn where their are breaks in the double yellow line.


    I was just surprised to find out, back when I asked the SPD Officer, that it was legal to turn across the solid double yellow, after so many years of thinking otherwise.



  • KBear January 11, 2010 (3:39 pm)

    The yellow lines have nothing to do with whether it’s legal to turn. They only indicate whether it’s legal to use the oncoming lane for passing.

  • Ross January 11, 2010 (6:29 pm)


    Not sure how making left turns AND U-turns illegal is gonna make things safer. Are you advocating people having to take 3 right turns to accomplish the same thing, not to mention having to drive multiple blocks further?

    How about at traffic lights without a left turn arrow? That always causes backups, yet is perfectly legal…

  • WTF January 11, 2010 (9:46 pm)

    As WSB stated. It’s ILLEGAL to cross the double yellow lines, unless they are broken to indicate a turn; you will never see broken double yellow line anywhere but at a side street. People at Walgreens attempt to turn when the light is 30 feet ahead and a legal turn. SLOW DOWN! There have been four head-ons and two death on this road in three years. That’s four accidents and two lost lives too many! Like Lauren says, Target will still be there. As will the gas station, your latte, the on-ramp, your potty break, you donuts, you favorite TV. PAY ATTENTION AND SLOW DOWN!!! And, quit stopping in the middle of the road to cross the double yellows. Go up a block and do it RIGHT.

  • (required) January 11, 2010 (10:05 pm)

    Like what was done with Fauntleroy, it is PAST TIME to turn 35th from four lanes and racing cars into a street with only one lane in each direction. Let’s make it a boulevard, even better. This set up now, with four lanes, MARK MY WORDS, will lead to more accidents like this. All avoidable, too. The accidents would end if we made 35th one lane in each dirction with a center planter strip. Currently, with two lanes in each direction, people race. Admit it — no car travels under the speed limit. You know it’s true. They just don’ttravel that slow. Ask SPD. Combine that speed with the fact that there’s no physical barrier to prevent people from crossing the center line to turn into driveways, and you get accidents — and death. Whoever works for the city, take note. This current design is loony and dangerous. There’s simply no need for four lanes on a four or five mile stretch of road. Next time there’s an accident, remember this.

  • WS Steve January 14, 2010 (3:23 pm)

    I’m so totally NOT in favor of reducing 35th to one lane each way. It would be a standstill half the time as people pulled into or out of driveways, looked for addresses, or just generally drove like it’s the third or fourth most important task they have on their plate at the moment.

    On the other hand, speeds need to be controlled. I’ve driven five miles a day on 35th for over ten years now, and rarely ever see police enforcing the speed limit. People routinely do 50mph down 35th and that’s nuts. A little more enforcement would go a long way.

  • cheyenne January 15, 2010 (3:03 pm)

    That is ridiculous to say you can’t turn left onto say your own driveway if it’s in the middle of the block. The term ‘block traffic’ means you can’t get around the blocking car. Obviously if there are two lanes going in the same direction, cars can pass.

  • Dennis January 18, 2010 (2:58 pm)

    There was no mention in the police report of speed being a contributing factor to this collision. The women who was in the flipped over SUV and taken to Harborview is my unregistered domestic partner of 22 years. She is fine except for some lingering neck pain. We are so thankful that the only thing we lost in this collision was our primary snow car.

    The 26yo male driver of the vehicle that veered across the double yellow line head-on into oncoming traffic (my partner) to somehow avoid rear-ending the car in front of him was cited for inattention. In the police report it states that he was watching a motorcycle that was approaching eastbound on SW Cloverdale St. and when he returned his attention to driving southbound he realized that the car in front of him was slowing/stopping because the car in front of it was stopped waiting for traffic to clear so they could turn left across 2 lanes of traffic into their driveway.

    Even if it is not illegal to turn left across two lanes of traffic into a driveway IT should be! And those who do it risk being rear-ended everytime they do and IMHO should bear some of the fault and responsibility in the collisions that result from their contributory actions.

    I agree with those who have suggested here that 35th Ave S.W. should be road-dieted from 4-lanes 2-each direction to 3-lanes 1-each direction and a center left turn lane and planters where appropriate. Homeowners along 35th AVe. SW should welcome the decreased vehicle speeds and increased safety when leaving their driveways and entering 35th that road-dieting will afford them, not to mention the increased value and beauty that center lane planters/landscaping will bring to their neighborhood and properties.

    Again we are so very thankful to have only lost a vehicle.

Sorry, comment time is over.