Update: California reopens after crash involving police car

(NOTE: As of just before 5 pm, California SW has reopened)

ORIGINAL 2:11 PM REPORT: Just getting word of this crash near California/Brandon (in front of Papa John’s – here’s a map), involving a police car. We’re told a car was pulling out of a driveway when it collided with a cruiser en route to an incident, apparently with lights and siren. We’re told the officer is hurt. No word yet how badly. (Photo added 2:18 pm) Christopher Boffoli and Patrick Sand are both there for WSB and we’ll add details as we get them.

2:36 PM UPDATE: A few more details – The officer involved in the crash had been heading to a call about a “disturbance” at California and Dakota north of The Junction. Investigators are headed to the crash scene to sort out other details. The driver of the other car was apparently not hurt – looks shaken up as much as anything; officers have been talking with him. California is closed **TFN** from Rite-Aid at the north to Brandon on the south. The injured officer is being checked out.

2:54 PM UPDATE: Buses are being rerouted too. We’ve gotten this e-mail alert about the 22:

Rt 22 is temporarily rerouted on California Ave SW near SW Brandon St, due to a blockage.
Use stops north of Sw Edmunds St or south of SW Morgan St.

Looking up the others. (54, 128, ST 560 affected too) Also, SPD Blotter has published a very short update on the crash:

On August 18th at approximately 1:52 p.m. an officer in a fully-marked police car was responding to an emergency call with lights and siren activated. Just north of SW Brandon Street on California Avenue SW the officer collided with a beige Ford sedan and subsequently struck a tree near the side of the road. The driver and only occupant of the beige Ford sedan, a male in his 70′s, was evaluated at the scene but was not injured and did not require transportation. The officer was transported to Harborview Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries. Traffic Collision Investigation Squad detectives are responding to the scene. The circumstances surrounding the collision are currently under active investigation.

Scanner traffic indicated that the emergency call involved a parking-enforcement officer who may have been pepper-sprayed by someone – we are checking on that.

3:20 PM: Added that photo from Christopher, which shows the other car that was involved.

4:23 PM: Christopher checked again a few minutes ago – still closed. We’ll continue checking periodically.

4:59 PM: Thanks to Pop from the Thaitan Restaurant, who says the road reopened a few minutes ago. Belinda, via Facebook, says buses are going by too.

ADDED 6:34 PM: Thanks to Garfield High School student Gabriel S. for sharing that photo – again, the officer who was hurt was described as having “non-life-threatening” injuries, but we’re still trying to find out more on how he’s doing.

50 Replies to "Update: California reopens after crash involving police car"

  • GenHillOne August 18, 2010 (2:13 pm)

    Maybe it was on its way to whatever is happening at California & Dakota. Fire & police there, intersection closed, bus running on 44th. 911 Live site down for maintenance :(

  • OP August 18, 2010 (2:24 pm)

    Yikes! Hope the officer and everyone else involved is okay!

  • GenHillOne August 18, 2010 (2:28 pm)

    KOMO chopper hanging out to the west.

  • Michele August 18, 2010 (2:35 pm)

    My daughters and I just walked by (we live two blocks from this intersection… A police officer told my daughter that the injured officer had “bumps and bruises” but was going to get checked out just to be on the safe side.

    • WSB August 18, 2010 (2:43 pm)

      Thanks, Michele, that’s what we’re hearing too but I don’t want to assume till we get official word. Our guys at the scene say the officer currently is being examined.

  • jillyd August 18, 2010 (2:47 pm)

    Any idea where the 54, 22, 128 and 560 buses are being rerouted to? (south toward fauntleroy ferry) Nothing on Metro site.

    • WSB August 18, 2010 (2:53 pm)

      Jilly, I just got an alert from Metro about the 22:
      >>Rt 22 is temporarily rerouted on California Ave SW near SW Brandon St, due to a blockage. Use stops north of Sw Edmunds St or south of SW Morgan St. <<

  • Jen August 18, 2010 (2:49 pm)

    Hope everyone is OK! Any insight into the Cali/Dakota incident? I am right around the corner from that area and just returned home…

    Thanks WSB!

  • Peggy August 18, 2010 (2:49 pm)

    I saw his accident happen in my rear view mirror and it was awful. This police car was the 3rd one that passed me at breakneck speeds on busy California Ave. I’m frankly surprised no pedestrians were hit. I hope whatever they were racing to warranted the reckless driving.

    • WSB August 18, 2010 (2:54 pm)

      Peggy – additional details I’ll be adding to the story in a moment indicates that a parking officer might have been getting assaulted (scanner suggested maybe even pepper sprayed) so it would have potentially been an officer-in-trouble call – TR

  • Mookie August 18, 2010 (2:51 pm)

    Per the officer who was blocking traffic at RiteAid location – he said he heard the officer was shaken up/banged up a bit but likely ok, he “was walking and talking” after the crash. Also said that the officer was responding in a hurry to another incident on California, when a car pulled out of a driveway in front of him, and rather than T-bone the driver’s side of that car, he purposefully went for the tree.

  • MDTERP August 18, 2010 (2:58 pm)

    DAAAYYYUUUMMM -that’s a messed up ride!

  • Val Vashon August 18, 2010 (3:12 pm)

    I think it was Guardian One that GenHill saw. I was sitting at the Ercolini Playground at the time and that was the only chopper I saw. It definitely was not Air 4 or any other news helicopter.

  • jillyd August 18, 2010 (3:30 pm)

    Does anyone know if south-bound buses (54, 22, 128, 560) are stopping at Alaska Junction? I would hate to get there and find out I need to walk all the way back to Morgan Junction!

  • dsw22 August 18, 2010 (3:31 pm)

    How did I know the driver was going to be a senior citizen??

  • livingundertheWSbridge August 18, 2010 (3:34 pm)

    Get ready for RapidRide.

  • GenHillOne August 18, 2010 (3:51 pm)

    Val – definitely 4 (grabbed the binocs!), but they split as soon as I posted my comment, figures, right?!

  • Pop August 18, 2010 (3:58 pm)

    I work at thai restaurant next to papa John and I saw every moment of accident it’s so scary police car drive very fast but one thing I didn’t hear any brake or tire noise from accident

  • Pop August 18, 2010 (4:00 pm)

    Investigate team still doing thier job now I hope they will finish very soon

    • WSB August 18, 2010 (4:18 pm)

      Pop – the TCIS investigations often take several hours. Maybe this will be different, hard to say. But if you are at Thaitan when they reopen, let us all know because you may well see it first (we’ll be checking again shortly) – TR

  • Pop August 18, 2010 (4:52 pm)

    They open now

    • WSB August 18, 2010 (4:55 pm)

      Thanks, Pop!

  • Pop August 18, 2010 (4:55 pm)

    And bus back to thier route

  • Silly Goose August 18, 2010 (6:51 pm)

    Does anyone know the name of the officer involved in the accident? I sure hope he is okay!! Is the parking enforcement officer okay?

    • WSB August 18, 2010 (6:57 pm)

      I have a message out to one police source and since I haven’t heard back yet, I’m trying another.

  • Frank Rutledge August 18, 2010 (7:19 pm)


  • California Ave SW Resident August 18, 2010 (7:41 pm)

    I am with you Peggy. California Avenue is one long corridor of sirens many times a day. I cannot believe with how populated a street it is how fast those cars race up and down California. Sometimes I see and hear them accelerate without the sirens. It is scary!

  • WSHC August 18, 2010 (9:00 pm)

    Thaitan makes killer thai iced coffees to go, thank you Pop! Glad to see your place wasn’t damaged in the accident. Be sure to BOYCOTT PAPA JOHNS on your way to and from Thaitan. PJ are no friend of the Fairmount neighborhood or, indeed, West Seattle.

  • Resident near dokata August 18, 2010 (9:15 pm)

    Does anyone know what exactly happened with the first incident that this officer was racing towards? I live just around the corner and I was wondering if we know what was going on?

    • WSB August 18, 2010 (9:26 pm)

      Officially, no, there is no more information. I didn’t get any further response from the media unit or the precinct but should be able to reach the media liaisons first thing in the morning … TR

  • newnative August 18, 2010 (9:16 pm)

    Hey Peggy, when you are getting assaulted and call for help, don’t get mad if they drive the speed limit and let you suffer.

  • toddinwestwood August 18, 2010 (9:20 pm)

    me thinks that cruiser is going to need a front end alignment.

  • Rick August 18, 2010 (9:44 pm)

    All pedal,no brakes,no skid marks…, Yeah, I was young once too…….

  • Glenda August 18, 2010 (9:45 pm)

    Yeah, I don’t think it is the fast police cars that are the problem . . . I think it is all the notoriously SLOOOOOOOOW drivers on California that invariably pull in front of you and slow everyone down on a one lane main arterial. Blech.

  • travis bickle August 18, 2010 (9:48 pm)

    i doubt there were any sirens or lights. The boys in blue can do WHAT they want WHEN they want. Hope he learned a lesson.

  • Silly Goose August 18, 2010 (10:18 pm)

    Okay usually when I ready dumb @$$ remarks such as this I just roll my eyes and log off but, this time I just had to respond to you Travis Bickle! What an ignorant comment….uh hello before blindly posting your factless comments you might what to read the original report that states “On August 18th at approximately 1:52 p.m. an officer in a fully-marked police car was responding to an emergency call with lights and siren!! Yeah he learned his lesson act responsibly, avoid colliding with another car….hum what part of those actions say do WHAT they want WHEN they want TRAVIS BICKLE? Oh yead BICKLE just one more thing “what’s the lesson suppose to be?

  • Starlight August 19, 2010 (7:27 am)

    That police cruiser was going way too fast on a congested, shady street like California Ave. I live a few blocks away and can barely do 30 mph on this stretch of road due to parked cars, cars pulling out of driveways, and the amount of pedestrians milling around. 50 feet from where this police officer plowed his cruiser into the tree is a busy, shady crosswalk. The officer would not have had time to react to a person crossing and was going so fast people wouldn’t have had time to react to him blazing across their path.

  • Gregg S. August 19, 2010 (8:16 am)

    I can’t believe what I’m reading from some of you who are complaining about the speed of police cars RESPONDING TO EMERGENCY CALLS on California Ave. Yes, California Ave is like one long 3 lane alleyway; but if the police receive a call, especially of another officer in trouble, I would expect that they would respond to it as quickly as possible. Unlike most of us, they are trained to drive at high rates of speed. Did you forget that the patrol car was struck by a car pulling out of a driveway, which is what made it colide with the tree?!! As for pedestrians on California Ave, they need to PAY ATTENTION!! I’m also a METRO driver and can’t tell you the number of times pedestrians aren’t paying attention to crossing signals, crosswalk, horns, or even police and fire sirens. Seriously people; I hope you never find yourself in need of the services of the men and women of the Seattle Police Department. But if you do, I wonder if you’ll ask them if they came to your aid at no faster than the posted speed limits of the streets they took to reach your location.

  • resident near dakota August 19, 2010 (8:44 am)

    Well Stairlight his lights and sirens were on. I always look when I hear sirens or see lights cause I know that I’m not the center of the world and not everyone is going to stop for me if I step out into the road. How self center can you be if you want a police officer responding to call to slow down to make you feel better? Come on. Be realistic if it was your emergency you’d be frantic hoping he’d get there sooner. So before you place the blame on the cop maybe we should all be looking at this situation and going “yeah before I pull out I should look both ways and know for sure it’s clear before I pull out.” Those police officers do so much for us and we need to give them some credit. So stop your grumbling and lets just be thankful that nothing serious happened out of the situation. That officer could have been killed.

  • cynical bystander August 19, 2010 (11:21 am)

    The officer would not have had time to react to a person crossing and was going so fast people wouldn’t have had time to react to him blazing across their path.

    Comment by Starlight — August 19, 10 7:27 am

    I think that's what the "lights and siren" are for…you know to warn people that a public safety officer is on his way to someone who urgently needs his assistance…but hey that's just a guess on my part…


  • km August 19, 2010 (11:33 am)

    For the record…I was walking down by the Morgan Street Junction at 2pm when I saw one of these police cars cross and commented to my sister that it was odd that the car was speeding so fast WITHOUT his lights and sirens on. I saw them get turned on once he was passed the Fauntleroy/California intersection though. Just wondering, why wouldn’t a police care ALWAYS have lights and sirens on if it was speeding down a road?

  • Joe August 19, 2010 (12:29 pm)

    People, please! Of course we want the Police to respond to emergencies as fast as possible, but not so fast they endanger themselves or the public. It’s not a speed limit or 90mph choice. If I’m in danger I want the Police to get there fast, but not so fast they run over my neighbor or crash into a tree on the way… that doesn’t help me or anybody else.

    Let’s reserve our judgments in this case until the facts come out.

  • datamuse August 19, 2010 (3:54 pm)

    I seriously doubt the police cruiser was going 90mph, Joe…

  • ME August 19, 2010 (5:33 pm)

    thats too bad. Both cars involved were Ford Crown Victorias….

  • Nat Turner August 20, 2010 (6:58 am)

    wow, so much for the loving open-minded west seattle. I guess that’s the case as long as you agree with everyone. I have witnessed myself, Police speeding up at a high speed THEN turn on their lights. Sometimes I’ve seen them cruse at a VERY HIGH SPEED (see, i can use caps too) WITHOUT THEIR SIRENS ON! I have almost been hit by a car doing just that. And yes, i DID read the report. I also read that a few witnesses reported NOT seeing/Hearing anything, but a crash. So please, don’t attack me for voicing my thoughts. Police are people too, and make mistakes. Why is an error on the officer inconceivable to you? Rarely do i ever read anyone holding an officer responsible for any mistakes. And the lesson for the officer is this-Be more cautious. I hope everyone has a great weekend.

  • Rick August 20, 2010 (8:28 am)

    I witnessed thr first two SPD cars northbound on California Ave at a very high rate of speed. I’m assuming the third SPD car was doing the same. The other car involved had pulled out from the nursery and had stopped in the turn lane when he saw the oncoming Spd with lights and sirens. Somebody overreacted here. And Data- the cruisers were doing at least 60-70 MPH. I’ve worked on California Ave for 30 years and they were doing what I call “bank robbery or officer assist” speed. Another sonic boom “crash” for West Seattle. I talked with the driver of the car that evening and he’s OK other than a sore shoulder and I hope the officer is OK also. It wasn’t as loud as Tuesday’s boom but it was still a sickening sound. Been there-done that. Cherrio…..

    • WSB August 20, 2010 (9:06 am)

      FYI we did publish a short followup last night. Officer expected back on duty today. Also explained the California/Dakota incident.

  • Joe August 20, 2010 (3:43 pm)

    Datamuse… I didn’t say the officer was going 90. I was suggesting that it’s not a choice between the speed limit or dangerously fast. The goal is to respond as quickly as conditions and public safety allow. In emergencies Police often have to exceed the speed limit… that’s what lights and sirens are for. We can blame seniors, slow drivers or idiots who pull out in front of us, but those are the very people the Police are sworn to swerve and protect.

  • Bob August 20, 2010 (4:39 pm)

    Just food for thought…..When driving down the road and a car pulls out from a driveway with out anytime for you to stop and you collide, whose fault is it? When you break down what happened the patrol car had the right of way regardless of whether the lights and sirens were on or how fast it was going. When the elderly gentlemen pulled out into the street the road was not clear. It does not matter how fast or slow a vehicle is driving down the road. You look both ways before you pull out. The fact the patrol car had lights and sirens on makes it even more obvious it is coming down the road. Kudos to the Officer for making a fast enough decision to hit the tree rather than hitting the elderly man directly. By the way Joe I like the SWERVE and protect. ;)

Sorry, comment time is over.