Hit-run crash: Truck hits vehicles along 35th SW, crashes into pole

(Thanks to Rene for sending photos)
ORIGINAL 12:16 AM REPORT: Thanks to everyone who’s phoned/e-mailed/FB’d about this – police are investigating an apparent hit-run crash that we are told has damaged multiple vehicles along 35th near Holly (map). Avoid the area – Ella is telling us via Facebook that utility lines are down too. The truck that hit the other vehicles is still at the scene but its driver apparently fled and has not yet been tracked down. Ella says the driver “was wearing a black puffy jacket and looked to be about in his 30’s” – the truck you see above in Rene’s photo is the one that hit other vehicles, we’re told. Rene’s account: “Hit and run. We heard a loud crash and sparks flying from a moving truck. Truck hit four parked cars, smashed into the light pole right at the southbound bus stop. Truck driver fled the scene.” ADDED 12:51 AM: A photo from Al, showing one of the cars hit by the truck:

From Al’s note … “This time around 11:40 PM … a large cargo truck struck a number of parked cars heading north and then careened across the southbound lanes and went up the curb at Holly St. The driver took off. This picture is of my neighbor’s car that was parked two houses up and ended up on the sidewalk in front of my house. When is SDOT going to (do) something (anything!) about 35th?” We have blurred the license plate in the photo so as to not reveal personal info; however, one resident who tells us his car was “accordioned” by the truck is Sustainable West Seattle president Brian Allen. 2:29 AM: Brian tells the full story as he experienced it in the comment section, here, and shares a photo of his car from another angle:

He also reports that the crash scene hasn’t been fully cleared up – debris, and the truck, remain, while a city crew is dealing with the pole and lines. 4:19 AM: Just drove by the crash scene to see if it was cleared yet. The truck’s still there, with one police car next to it, blocking the outside southbound lane on 35th, just south of Holly. This photo from D. Groves shows the scene clearly (except for the big tag on the truck, which we blurred):

5:19 AM UPDATE: Scott C called a few minutes ago to say a tow truck has arrived at the scene; TV truck, too. 10:18 AM UPDATE: As Mike points out in comments, Q13 reports this morning that Croft Rentals says the truck was stolen (they’re in the 11200 block of 16th SW in White Center). “Whoever was driving rammed two trucks just to get it out of the lot,” reporter Brian Callanan (a West Seattleite) was told. “Threw the registration on the ground.”

36 Replies to "Hit-run crash: Truck hits vehicles along 35th SW, crashes into pole"

  • FabulousEm February 15, 2010 (12:27 am)

    We witnessed the crash as it was happening. I first saw a bunch of sparks and the driver slammed into two cars on 35th just past Willow before Holly, then crashed into a pole on the opposite side of the street. My husband ran out to see if he was ok, the cab door was closed and full of smoke, so he opened the door to get the guy out and he wasn’t in the car. Someone else on the scene said they saw a bald white man with a puffy coat on run down the street toward 36th.

  • JanS February 15, 2010 (12:55 am)

    wonder what’s inside the truck..hmmm…

  • JanS February 15, 2010 (12:57 am)

    wow, Al…I feel for your neighbor…what a mess!

  • pigeonmom February 15, 2010 (1:29 am)

    I know what you mean Al. Every time I drive 35th, cars blow by me going 40+ according to the mph flashing gauge.

  • p2 February 15, 2010 (2:02 am)

    hmm, i live in the belvidere neighborhood, about 38th and andover. just saw car lights cruise slowly past my house. but it was through the semi closed blinds so i didn’t see the vehicle. minutes later, again, a slow moving car goes by, this time shining a really bright light towards my house! freaked me out, i jumped up and ran to my front porch but just missed the car as it turned the corner. hoping it was a police cruiser out looking for the runaway driver? otherwise, kind of scary …

    • WSB February 15, 2010 (2:10 am)

      P2, police reiterate that they want to hear from you via 911 if you hear/see something/someone suspicious – *when* you hear/see it. Dispatchers may ultimately have calls that take higher priority – “life safety” is always priority 1 – but just so you know, if you haven’t read it here (or elsewhere) before … TR

  • brizone February 15, 2010 (2:17 am)

    The smashed up 2004 Honda Civic is mine, it was parked on the Northbound side just below the Willow bus stop.

    Road Samaritan (who are now on my personal heros list, they were awesome) just cleared my car out of there about 20 minutes ago. SDOT had just started dealing with the cables from the telephone pole that got splintered about 10 minutes ago. The truck is still there blocking traffic at Holly. There’s still debris all over the northbound lanes.

    Here’s what we experienced:

    We were just dozing off around 11:30pm when we heard what sounded like a large, well, explosion. At first I feared a small plane going in or out of Boeing Field had finally gone down in High Point or something had blown up in the neighborhood, it was that loud.

    I threw on a pair of shorts, jumped up and ran to the front door, looked out and saw that my car parked right in front of my house was…not there any more.

    Not good.

    Back inside, throw on clothes, dialing 911, I’m back out the door in about 30 seconds and incredibly there was already a cop on the scene. Apparently he had been going by (or somewhere nearby and heard it, I never really caught the details on that part).

    Get to the sidewalk: my car is two houses down, crushed against a light pole. Neighbor’s tree was taken out, debris had taken out the back windshield of his car parked right in front of mine. If my car hadn’t been there, he would have been the one totaled.

    Incredibly, since the truck had hit my car with so much force, it apparently bounced back out to the middle of the road, missing two more cars parked further down on the right side before it swerved back in to the right at that point, impacted a truck and another car and took its final trajectory across the entire street and into the telephone pole.

    From what we can tell, it definitely lost the front right tire when it hit my car (and perhaps earlier, that part isn’t clear). Take a look at the -deep- gouge marks in the street cause by the front right suspension, and you can easily see how the entire thing played out.

    I feel bad for the guy whose white work truck got nailed, he’s a contractor.

    The truck that caused all the damage from from Croft Rentals. The cops were able to verify that it’s registered to them, so I’m not too worried about the coverage.

    Anybody know where I can find a replacement 2004 Honda Civic EX?

  • p2 February 15, 2010 (2:26 am)

    okay, TR, thanks for the reminder. i’ve never called 911 before so this didn’t register that way for me. i did just call though and she said, “yes, ma’am, there is police activity in your area”. i kept it short and to the point, as did she. guess i can sleep now : )

  • brizone February 15, 2010 (2:46 am)

    @p2: yep, they’re continuing to search the area hoping they’ll catch the guy since he doesn’t have wheels anymore.

    The truck is still down there, though it looks like there’s another one now that I think they may be planning to unload the first on into perhaps, in order to tow it? Not really clear, but I’ve had enough of this for the night so I’m not walking down there again…

    • WSB February 15, 2010 (2:51 am)

      Thanks for all the info, B. I’m going to go down there to check on the truck’s status (etc.) in half an hour or so. Will also be checking back with police in the morning on whether they got lucky and found the guy. As somebody else noted along the way, whether here or in one of the other streams where we were discussing this, the rental company should know whether the truck had been stolen, or was out on a legitimate rental …

  • miws February 15, 2010 (5:37 am)

    KOMO4’s Mark Miller just did a live report from the scene, and specifically mentioned the comments from a couple of the people who commented here on WSB. :)



    • WSB February 15, 2010 (5:51 am)

      KIRO seems to have something on it too. I haven’t gone to bed yet (waiting to hand off to early watch) but on Twitter, they had a headline including the phrase “path of destruction.” In the early going, this wasn’t much on the scanner – I had been listening for hours when the phone rang with the first call, but hadn’t heard a peep about a crash – so it’s a likely bet this was the first alert – our logs always show regular citywide-media check-ins. (And thanks yet again to the multitude of folks who called, e-mailed, took photos, commented, FB’d the info. Made it a much fuller story, much faster. And at midnight and beyond, to boot!) – Tracy

  • miws February 15, 2010 (8:31 am)

    Brian Callanan was there (and probably still is) for the top of the 8 o’clock hour report for Q13.


    He mentioned that Croft Rentals in White Center said that the truck had indeed been stolen. They also said the alleged thief damaged two other Croft trucks in the process of removing it from their property.



  • wseye February 15, 2010 (9:02 am)

    Looks to me like this might not be an accident, that some punks did this as a thrill. I’ve seen this behavior in other cities, stealing a vehicle and then deliberately running it into a bunch of parked cars. An urban extreme sport, you could call it.

  • cherylc February 15, 2010 (9:09 am)

    Having an airbag deploy in my face is a thrill I can live without! Tastes differ, I suppose. :)

    I live four houses down from Brian and I concur, it sounded like two loud explosions. I leaped out of bed, and was very relieved that people weren’t hurt. It sounded like a massive accident, and, while it’s awful as is, at least the cars hit weren’t occupied.

  • Meg February 15, 2010 (9:28 am)

    I was guessing it was stolen- i am also guessing that the thief(s) were high. but those are just my thoughts.

  • Amy February 15, 2010 (9:44 am)

    I live less than a block from this accident site on 36th & Willow, and right after we heard the collision one of our neighbors’ vehicles’ car alarms went off and sounded for many minutes. Just wondering if the culprit was trying to steal a getaway car? Any neighbors out there reading this – maybe you have information?

  • sgs February 15, 2010 (9:49 am)

    Any info on when the graffiti on the truck appeared, i.e. before or after stolen from Croft Rentals?

  • Rene February 15, 2010 (12:02 pm)

    Amy, you’re right. The car alarm went off a block away minutes after the accident. Same direction that the suspect was heading. I informed the car’s owner of the situation, and recommended he keep an eye out for any suspicious activity.

  • sarelly February 15, 2010 (12:13 pm)

    So sorry about everyone’s cars. We are on the same block, but the truck missed our new car by a few feet. (Our old car was totaled by a hit and run driver just a couple months ago, so we were relieved to be spared this time.) I was in bed reading when it happened. The way sound carries, it sounded like someone rolling the mother of all dumpsters down the alley behind the house – but then my husband ran upstairs and said, “Did you see that?” and we raced to the front window in time to see the truck where it ended up crashed against the opposite side of the street. A police car was already there, which seemed a bit magical. (A couple years ago a pizza truck driver took out a tree and a fence uphill from us – this stretch of 35th is really bad.)

  • Cheryl February 15, 2010 (12:42 pm)

    I hope all the busted up vehicles get towed at least… there has been a smashed up black car “parked” on the east side of 35th (north of Holden) for more than month. I say parked, b/c that car is soooo messed up I can’t imagine it’s actually drivable.

    35th is a MESS in terms of how fast people drive on that road, how careless people are when they cruise at top speeds, yapping on their cell phones, texting, making lane changes without signaling, blowing through crosswalks, etc. Not to mention the Metro buses that try to kill you too.

    I avoid it as much as I can.

    I’m SO sorry that the people who actually live on 35th have to put up w/ this crap on a regular basis. What a rude way to get woken up. I hope the truck rental company has GREAT insurance and handles the settlements quickly and fully!

  • ad February 15, 2010 (1:31 pm)

    brizone- a few months ago a driver hit my parked 2004 civic ex (and 7 other cars) and it was very difficult to find used honda civics! i ended up getting a subaru. good luck finding something new.

  • amy February 15, 2010 (2:21 pm)

    Any idea when this van was stolen? I saw it Thursday afternoon in White Center driving erratic. The tagging caught my attention.

  • coffee February 15, 2010 (2:30 pm)

    Any car that sits more than 72 hours can be reported to the city. I do it ALL the time. And the city is pretty quick to respond too. I think they first try to contact the car owner telling them they have to move the car and then if there is no response they ticket, and eventually tow it. You can even report it on line.

  • Rene February 15, 2010 (3:17 pm)

    Ironically, I called the city last summer to report an abandoned car that was totalled in the same exact location of this accident.

    I fear our stretch of 35th is indeed cursed as an accident hazard :-(

  • Scott February 15, 2010 (4:25 pm)

    This really like a case of Truck Surfing!

  • Michael February 15, 2010 (5:38 pm)

    LOOOVE when people add stuff like “When is SDOT going to (do) something (anything!) about 35th?” after something like this.
    How do you propose to stop a truck thief on a main arterial at midnight? Catch fences? Cop camped out on every block? Force fields around parked cars?
    People drive too fast on ALL arterials. Yes, it’s bad, but it relates as much to the price of pork bellies as to this awful incident.

  • brizone February 15, 2010 (5:56 pm)

    @ad: Ya, I know. I have the dealer who sold it to me in August (yep, I’d only had it 5 months) looking for another. Their broker promised to check around. Turns out used car lots buy cars at auctions all over the country and move stuff around QUITE a lot, so it’s possible they might be able to find a similar one for me.

    I’m afraid that I always make this hard on myself, though, by insisting on a manual (I hate automatic transmissions). It did take me a while to find this one…

  • Rene February 15, 2010 (8:26 pm)

    Ya know, the more I think of this accident, the more I think there’s something fishy going on. So the truck was apparently “stolen”.

    How was it that they acquired keys? As far as I know, there were keys in the truck. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    If there were indeed keys in the truck, I’d be asking more questions of the moving company. Maybe even request video surveillance. And, find out exactly when the truck was reported stolen.

    Someone made a comment on the blog indicating that they saw this truck driving eradically earlier in the day. If this is true, then why wasn’t the truck reported by the owner? I’m betting they know who had the truck. Maybe a friend or relative. I really hate to start a rumor or plant seeds, but it just doesn’t add up.

  • 35this35mph February 15, 2010 (9:45 pm)

    Well, this all happened on my block… Again!

    If this truck was *stolen* from the rental company I can’t imagine that they carry any liability for the cars/truck that were hit, right?

  • Eric February 15, 2010 (9:56 pm)


    There will be no help from the stolen truck company’s insurance (which is why you report your stolen vehicle). Even if they catch the guy, he is probably worth zero dollars. Too bad they outlawed “debtors prisons”. There should be a way for criminals like this to “pay back” society by working behind bars. If for no other reason than it keeps them off the street.

  • sa February 16, 2010 (8:26 am)

    35th is the most dangerous street in the city, SDOT are unwilling to put in safety measures such as a road diet, lower speed limits, etc. There is no need for 35th to operate like an expressway.

  • Sotavento February 16, 2010 (10:11 am)

    This is the second time it happened here in West Seattle, I hope the police bothers to take prints this time as they didn’t back in October 09 when my car was total by a stolen car (with the keys).
    These crooks are having fun ruining other peoples properties and getting a away with it.
    It needs to stop before someone gets hurt.

  • Ella Sharp February 16, 2010 (12:15 pm)

    I’ve seen a few hit and run accidents here on 35th & Holly, but this one was very different. I do think this was some kind of game. the driver jumped out of the truck and ran off like he planned it that way all along. Maybe had a buddy waiting to come pick him up afterward. How high or stupid do you need to be to have an accident wreaking this much havoc on a straight stretch of roadway with no other (moving) vehicles around you and your *stolen* vehicle. Then to just hop out and run away disappearing into the shadows. Sounds like it was orchestrated to me. My family and I saw the driver as he headed up Holly St. He looked like he was up to something. People who engage in this type of offense ought to be charged with some form of terrorism. I hope they find the guy and give him what for.

  • brizone February 16, 2010 (10:09 pm)

    @Ella: Did you already convey all this information to the police that night?

  • linda February 24, 2010 (2:46 pm)

    As a resident on 35th I am always angered by the speeding cars going by at least 60+ some in the mornings when school at arbor heights is just about to start with kids walking to school others late at night sounding like a jet taking off waiting to hear of the crash but nothing i feel bad for at times i wish they would crash maybe hoping someone might get the message. but know i was the one getting a ticket for going 30 in front of my house 26yr perfect driving record until then imagine that lets not forget 289.00 hummmm where are all the cops???

Sorry, comment time is over.