Update: Motorcycle rider killed in West Seattle Junction crash

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3:40 AM: We are at California and Oregon, where a motorcycle rider is dead at the scene of a crash that happened just after 3 am. Police at the scene are not able to say much yet, but a Jeep Liberty also was involved in the crash; its driver was not seriously hurt. The intersection is taped off and likely to be closed for hours.

4:10 AM UPDATE: The Traffic Collision Investigation Squad, which investigates crashes with deadly and/or life-threatening injuries, is here. They’re expanding the closure of California northward to Genesee; Oregon is closed between 42nd and 44th. The motorcycle, and victim, are on the west side of the street just north of California, and the collision took out a big planter. SPD describes the victim as a man in his 60s. The SUV driver, also male, had a dog in the vehicle, and someone has come to pick it up. TV stations are here too and gearing up to report on this during morning newscasts.

5:02 AM UPDATE: Metro says Routes 22, 50, 55, 128 are being rerouted around the crash scene until it’s cleared.

6:16 AM UPDATE: We’re checking back at the scene.

Investigators think they will be there a few more hours, so please note that if you go through that area in the morning, you will need to detour.

8:05 AM UPDATE: Open again, per Metro alert that buses have returned to their regular routes.

9:48 AM UPDATE: SPD has just posted this update:

Just shortly after 3:00 a.m.,a patrol officer was stopped facing southbound on California Av Sw at Sw Alaska St. The officer noticed a red Jeep Liberty turn left from SW Alaska onto northbound California Av Sw. Moments later, the officer heard a loud crash behind him; he made a u-turn and came upon that same Jeep Liberty involved in a collision with a motorcycle at the intersection of California Av SW and SW Oregon St. It appears the Harley Davidson motorcycle was travelling west on Sw Oregon St and was struck in the intersection by the northbound Jeep Liberty.

On scene patrol officers initiated CPR on the 62-year-old male motorcycle operator; Seattle Fire resumed life saving efforts when they arrived, the male was subsequently pronounced deceased at the scene shortly thereafter. The King County Medical Examiner responded and took custody of the male.

As is routine, a DUI unit responded and evaluated the driver of the Jeep Liberty; no signs of impairment were detected.
The investigation continues.

75 Replies to "Update: Motorcycle rider killed in West Seattle Junction crash"

  • Ian July 26, 2013 (4:32 am)

    Sad to hear this. Wish that people would slow down out there at night.

    • WSB July 26, 2013 (5:37 am)

      The Traffic Collision Investigation Squad is on scene investigating. We were out there for the first hour or so; no one was speaking on camera, but co-publisher Patrick Sand is going back to check on the scene and whether police have anything more to say.

  • E July 26, 2013 (5:26 am)


  • ted nakahara July 26, 2013 (5:40 am)

    Kiro 7 says motorcycle ran red light. driver of SUV given breathalyzer and was not under arrest.
    sounds like a legit terrible accident :(

  • smokeycretin9 July 26, 2013 (5:50 am)

    Godspeed fellow motorcyclist.

    I rode my motorcycle back from Ballard tonight and almost every car driver was texting. Not at a light, checking your phone texting, I am talking full on 45 mph, barely looking at the road kind of texting.

    It’s getting scary out there. Please people, put down the phone.

    • WSB July 26, 2013 (5:58 am)

      We were the first media on the scene. And I have KIRO on in the background now back at HQ. No, Rick from KIRO did not SAY the motorcyclist ran the red light. They said police were investigating that possibility. Our crew heading back to the scene will be asking about that. Very unusual if police would make a remark like that before TCIS had even finished its work, though. And yes, they gave the driver a breath test, which would be routine in these cases; I’m rather aghast they showed that.
      Smokey, on that subject, even as someone who checks the phone at stoplights on occasion, I wonder if we are going to have to get to the point where vehicles have some kind of wireless-signal-defeating field – TR

  • ALC July 26, 2013 (6:27 am)

    I was awakend by helicopters. I am surprised that they are able to fly so low to the scene. Quite a tragedy, God bless those involved.

  • Chris W July 26, 2013 (6:35 am)

    Thanks, WSB. I got a Metro reroute alert and came straight here to find out why. What a trajedy.

  • Lynne July 26, 2013 (6:48 am)

    Speeding is a factor in more car crashes than alcohol. Most people speed and think it’s ok. Way too many people are otherwise distracted. I see that WSB admits not putting the phone out of reach. Cars are deadly weapons. Please drive them responsibly.

    I am not commenting on fault in this specific accident, I do not have all of the facts in this case. My comments are general comments related to safe driving. Way too many people just don’t take the potential for harm seriously when they are behind the wheel. Thirty thousand people die every year in car crashes in the US. Most of them are preventable.

  • zoopa July 26, 2013 (7:03 am)

    yes, I have often thought that the only way to stem the epidemic of texting while driving is to have a device standard in all vehicles that disables the wireless devices. once in a vehicle, wireless devices just would not work. Wireless companies would likely fight it tooth and nail, but I would not be surprised to see that in the not too distant future.

    • WSB July 26, 2013 (8:20 am)

      And again, for those who come into comment threads but don’t read them top to bottom: The texting discussion is an offshoot here – sorry to have furthered it – there is no information or even suggestion that it had ANYTHING to do with this crash; there has been no official police comment on anything since the early word that the victim was a man in his 60s. We need to stop it here .
      Meantime, now that the investigators have cleared, we might, or might not, get an SPD update. Also, no ID of the victim has been released and is not likely at least before the medical examiner’s daily update at mid-afternoon, though we’re unlikely to see it that early – TR

  • kwitty July 26, 2013 (7:25 am)

    This is so sad. My thoughts are with the family and friends of everyone touched by this.

  • CJ July 26, 2013 (7:28 am)

    Simply put a tragedy! It’s awful! RIP Larry!

  • I. Ponder July 26, 2013 (7:29 am)

    Texting while driving should be criminal but talking on cell phone while driving is also very dangerous and way too common. I understand it’s equivalent to driving while impaired in terms of reaction time and skills. If you’re distracted by talking on phone and something unexpected happens, suddenly you’ve got an ‘accident’.

  • Blunt Force July 26, 2013 (7:35 am)

    Disabling mobile devices in cars makes little sense. Smart phones are not soley used for texting or making calls. For example, some of us use them as GPS devices (maps). Perhaps self accountability is the remedy (i.e. don’t txt and drive). Treat the fine for doing so similarly to driving under the influence of alcohol. Besides, we don’t even know if a mobile device was even involved in this crash. /rant
    My thoughts go out to the motorcyclist’s family and friends and I hope the driver and dog are OK in the jeep.

  • Michael July 26, 2013 (7:39 am)

    We live on 50th and we heard what sounded like a big time gun shot. Turns out it was this wreck. There were no screeching breaks whatsoever. Just a massive collision. Prayers to all those impacted.

  • fe July 26, 2013 (7:43 am)

    Well this is terrible, a lot of accidents on that intersection. :/
    I agree it is scary seeing people distracted by their phones while driving. Wish the law would be more aggressively enforced…

    As far as having a device disable the signal once in a vehicle, I’m not sure that’s ever going to fly. How about an emergency situation? Someone attacking you? You’re trapped in your vehicle? Better off enforcing the law more aggressively than it is now.

  • Chris W July 26, 2013 (7:48 am)

    Metro email says these buses have returned to normal route, FYI.

  • Kristin July 26, 2013 (7:54 am)

    Wouldn’t work folks. That means your passengers couldn’t use their mobile devices.

  • AJP July 26, 2013 (7:54 am)

    Actually my AT&T phone has a drive mode feature, as soon as my phone starts going more than 25 mph (presumably in my car), it goes into drive mode. I can shut it off, like if I’m the passenger or on a bus or something. So sorry for the motorcyclist and his family.

  • LMA July 26, 2013 (7:56 am)


  • Lachlan July 26, 2013 (7:59 am)

    So would this magical technology stop working/not malfunction when needed?

    I’m far from a defender of texting, but let’s be realistic. Imagine the uproar if that did exist, malfunctioned, and someone died because they couldn’t exit a vehicle or call for help because they were being jammed.

    And by the way, jammers -current tech- are highly regulated. I doubt we’re going to see an easing of restrictions on that to prevent drive-texting.

  • Phone in Pocket July 26, 2013 (8:23 am)

    When I drive, my phone is in my pocket. Turned off. Works for me.

    Sorry about the horrible accident. Tragic.

  • Cobalt July 26, 2013 (8:23 am)

    Had a fun ride in on the 7am 55. The bus was detouring around the scene and got jackknifed in the intersection of SW Genesee and 44th SW. Bus yielded to a fire truck going to an unrelated call. Bus was stuck for 15mins while the supervisor worked the bus out of the right angle and around the corner.

  • jwws July 26, 2013 (8:32 am)

    @Michael, I was letting the dogs out around 3 am and heard it too here on 55th and thought it was three gunshots in rapid succession. So very sad at the loss of life….

  • Bonnie July 26, 2013 (8:36 am)

    That is so sad. I feel bad for everybody involved.

  • Coyote July 26, 2013 (8:39 am)

    You people disgust me with your phone jamming argument.
    A man died violently under unknown circumstances. Drivers, please look out for motorcyclists, cyclists, peds, etc… Motorcyclists, look ahead and plan for unexpected hazards 3-4 seconds away. There will be other accidents.

  • Noodle90 July 26, 2013 (8:56 am)

    Very infortunate that a man lost his life last night. All the boys in my family ride motorcycles and it’s important to aware and safe on the roads. Us Washingtonians don’t look for motorcycles and are not as aware of them as others people/states. Here you can ride your bike a month out of the year if your lucky…unlike other warmer states where you can ride all year long. So it’s not in our brains to take extra caution for bikers. Accidents happen and it’s unfortunate but just be aware when your on the road.

  • The Original MB July 26, 2013 (8:58 am)

    Thank you, Coyote.

  • West seattle resident. July 26, 2013 (9:00 am)

    Probably already mentioned, but Sprint will allow you to (if you want) to turn off texting if your moving more than 5 miles an hour. I’m sure other carriers offer this too, i’m just not sure. Sad to hear about the death of a person, whosever fault if may be.

  • Alki Resident July 26, 2013 (9:09 am)

    Heart-felt sympathies to the motorcyclist’s family & friends. So sorry for your loss.

  • enough July 26, 2013 (9:26 am)

    Bad intersection but I’d like to know how this accident happened. Shocked and saddened at this incident so close to home. Prayers.

  • WSB July 26, 2013 (9:52 am)

    Just added SPD’s update to the story. No cause announced but they believe the motorcycle was westbound on Oregon and the SUV northbound on California when it happened. – TR

  • Westgirl July 26, 2013 (9:52 am)

    Thoughts and prayers to the victims family.

  • Alyxx B July 26, 2013 (9:54 am)

    As a biker – I know that we are often invisible. I’ve had drivers look right at me, make eye contact, then still proceed as if I was not there. I don’t have the info to blame the Jeep driver, nor the motorcyclist, and blame doesn’t help. Just be aware out there, folks. All of us need to keep our eyes on the road and on each other.

  • dave July 26, 2013 (10:38 am)

    SmokeyCretin & AlyxxB:
    I don’t know who’s to blame with this accident, but I DO know EVERYONE needs to pay more attention out there.
    I ride to work 2-3 times a week and I can’t count how many people are on cell phones, reading the paper, putting on makeup, texting, eating, I’ve even seen people with laptops in their laps. Is ANY of this stuff they are doing more important than the lives of those around them?
    Am I going to get broadsided and put in the ER because someone was reaching for a bran muffin they dropped?
    We all need to be on our A game when we get into that multi-thousand pound steel box on wheels. It’s not an office, it’s not a kitchen table, it’s not a makeup room. It’s a vehicle. All we should be doing is driving it.

  • steve July 26, 2013 (10:42 am)

    So sorry for the cyclist. Not commenting on this incident in particular. But, it is getting extrememly dangerous to drive, as of late. Everyday, it seems I almost get hit by someone, usually texting. We (and my two kids) nearly died today on freeway. Someone in front of us texting and doing 35mph on freeway. Went to pass, she speeds up to 60, goes back to texting and sideswipes us. I was so angry.

  • chan7878 July 26, 2013 (10:54 am)

    well said coyote!

  • G July 26, 2013 (11:41 am)

    Although unrelated to this tragedy, the city needs to install a left turn signal at that intersection for those turning off Cali to go east on Oregon. As some have mentioned, this intersection has a gruesome history, especially for seniors trying to cross.

  • steve July 26, 2013 (11:57 am)

    People shouldnt be shocked that a 62-year old man killed in a motorcycle crash. Happens all the time. Motorcycles are dangerous.

  • Enginerd July 26, 2013 (11:58 am)

    Seems like speed at impact was pretty high. The SUV was spun near 180 degrees around and the motorcycle came to rest a fair distance away and up the street from the intersection.

  • Fed up July 26, 2013 (12:07 pm)

    Agree with G.

  • Diane July 26, 2013 (12:10 pm)

    as usual, tv news just has to be over dramatic, rarely based on facts, or any compassion for the poor soul who died; just heard kiro7 noon tv news say “motorcyclist BLEW through a red light”; the driver “SLAMMED into him”; and that was about it

    • WSB July 26, 2013 (12:31 pm)

      And the allegation that the victim went through a red light was NOT confirmed or even alleged by the police at the scene who were authorized to talk (we spoke with a sergeant) – TR

  • Wes C. Addle July 26, 2013 (12:48 pm)

    It is a scary intersection. It’s usually very busy with cars going around others. I’ve almost been run over crossing the street in front of the Shadowlands going east. Drivers turning left going north usually punch it through the crosswalk before the pedestrians start crossing the street. In my case it was an old lady that couldn’t see above her dash, I had to dive out of the way to avoid being struck.

    RIP to the Motorcyclist.

  • Jess July 26, 2013 (12:55 pm)

    In general people are just too comfortable being careless on the road with an unreasonable sense of thinking one is invincible. People need to put down their Iphones and watch what is in front of them. Facebook, Instagram, and you tube will still be there once you have parked.P.s Yellow means slow down not speed up;) I pray for the family of this man.

  • trish July 26, 2013 (1:03 pm)

    This is so sad. Regardless who is to blame someone died. I just lost a cousin who was a very cautous driver. She ran a red light and is now gone to us. It just takes on little mistake on anyones part, a slight distraction and a life can be taken. Pray for the families for both sides will be hurting.

  • Olly July 26, 2013 (1:26 pm)

    I almost got hit this morning and [almost] slammed into the left median on the exit down to 4th from the bridge. I was riding in the left lane and the SUV next to me just gunned over to my lane without so much as a mirror check. Luckily I noticed it right away and slammed on my horn. I’ve said this on here before…please, just take the time to look around before you change lanes or go through an intersection…

    R.I.P. biker buddy. God speed.

  • Traci July 26, 2013 (1:33 pm)

    One of my friends was recently hit by a car and badly injured while riding his bicycle. He truly doesn’t know who’s fault the accident was. Horrible accidents happen. A second of distraction, a turn too soon, trying to beat the yellow light, it could have been anything. It’s easy to feel like you’re the only person driving around at 3 AM. Why speculate?
    So sad about the motorcyclist. My thoughts are with his family, and also with the driver of the Jeep. Just sad.

  • nemobeansmom July 26, 2013 (2:19 pm)

    This is so terribly sad…my sympathies to both families, 1st to the deceased for their loss and 2nd to the man driving the Jeep, he will have the guilt I’m sure for the rest of his life. I am so sorry.

  • Lynne July 26, 2013 (4:50 pm)

    Why speculate? Because 30,000 people die every year in the US in car crashes and most of them are preventable. Yes, “it just takes one little mistake.” So pay attention, don’t speed, don’t be inebriated, don’t be distracted, obey traffic laws.

    People got tired of the car-related carnage in the Netherlands in the 60s and did something about it. We need to end this madness.

  • duder July 26, 2013 (6:23 pm)

    Do we know the name of the deceased?

  • sgs July 26, 2013 (7:32 pm)

    Lynne, do tell. What did the Netherlands do?

  • Citizen Sane July 26, 2013 (7:33 pm)

    @Lynne: What did the Netherlands do in the 60s (not being snarky or sarcastic; I’m genuinely interested). I know they’re really strict about DUI in much of Western Europe, but FWIW, Europeans (at least the French, Italian, and Irish drivers I saw) do seem to drive like Formula One drivers all the same.

  • JN July 26, 2013 (9:53 pm)

    What Lynne is referring to is the “Stop de Kindermoord” pressure movement which was specifically about the high number of children (and everyone in general) being killed by motorists every year. They were able to severely reduce the number of people killed by motorists as a direct result of building and funding separated bicycle infrastructure and placing consideration for motorist convenience far below consideration for pedestrian/bicyclist safety. As a result pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists are FAR safer in the Netherlands than in the United States. If we want to save lives that are currently being thrown away like trash we MUST reduce consideration of motorists in preference of pedestrians and bicyclists. It is really that simple.

  • datamuse July 26, 2013 (10:21 pm)

    The Netherlands also installed a lot of roundabouts and traffic circles, which most Americans seem to find scary and confusing.

  • anonymous July 26, 2013 (10:51 pm)

    r.i.p larry

  • Mike July 26, 2013 (11:25 pm)

    Obviously I do not the circumstances about this accident an do not want to speculate. i do ask that all drivers please be on the look out for motorcycles. Earlier this evening I too was on my motorcycle and came within a few feet of getting by a car pulling out of the parking lot behind Husky Deli.

  • Interrobang July 27, 2013 (1:15 am)

    Yeesh, people speculate on here (causes/solutions/blame) like if they guess right they win a prize.

  • Updates July 27, 2013 (10:06 pm)

    Dear TR,

    Please update us on this tragic accident. It is troubling that it happened at approximately 3:30 AM. Very little traffic, obviously. The Jeep driver did not appear to be intoxicated. Please let us know who was riding the motorcycle and unfortunately was killed.

    This is close to home and I would like an update, if you don’t mind.


  • Chris July 27, 2013 (10:25 pm)

    There isn’t a strong enough consequence for drivers who harm or kill others– it’s always an “accident”, making it the perfect alibi for actual murder. The 30,000+ preventable deaths that occur every year by distracted, speeding and chemically impaired drivers could be be decreased if the punitive responses were actually meaningful– such as mandatory payment by the driver for any and all physical and financial costs endured by the “accident” victim. Carelessness is not an “accident”, and as a taxpayer, I don’t think our very public roads give us a right to commit acts of violent negligence against each other in total privacy. More cameras and real consequences means more people drive carefully, and fatalities decrease.

    • WSB July 27, 2013 (11:11 pm)

      Chris, you’re preaching to the choir here – you have never and will never see a crash referred to as an “accident” on WSB, as that is a subjective term. Wouldn’t allow my crews to use that term in my 20-plus years in TV, either.
      “Updates” – There is no additional information. The Medical Examiner did not release the motorcycle rider’s name in the Friday “media hotline” update, and there will not be another update until Monday afternoon. Traffic Collision Investigation Squad cases often take months for a final report, so police will not have anything more to say either.

  • Nate July 28, 2013 (1:03 am)

    I’m 62, ride a black Harley and live in W.S. I received a concerned call at 6:15am to make sure it wasn’t me but lately I’m beginning to think it could have been b/c too many car drivers are on their portable devices while driving. I’ve been riding bikes for over 40 years and thinking that maybe it’s time to give it up. Hang up and drive folks; driving while distracted causes accidents.

  • WS Neighbor July 28, 2013 (8:10 am)

    Just found out yesterday this was a guy on my block. I didn’t know him personally, but I’m still very sad to hear about his passing.

  • Coldheart Craig July 28, 2013 (1:54 pm)

    I almost got ran off the road yesterday by a woman using an IPAD! I want to shoot the tires out of every driver I see using electronic devices. Peoples lives are at stake.

  • T July 29, 2013 (2:37 am)

    I’m sorry, but how can that guy sit there drinking coffee next to a horrific accident?

    • WSB July 29, 2013 (10:11 am)

      Not seeing anyone drinking coffee in any of our photos.

  • Joseph in Admiral July 29, 2013 (12:15 pm)

    Does anyone know who the rider was?

  • oedipa July 29, 2013 (8:29 pm)

    I knew the victim. His name was Larry. Nice guy, loved his bikes, many in W. Seattle knew him. Sadness all around.

    • WSB July 29, 2013 (9:20 pm)

      Thanks, Oedipa. A few other people mentioned that first name in earlier comments that we held because there was no word next of kin had been notified, but it’s been three days now, and surely notification has been made. No name was on the Medical Examiner media list Friday or today, though. If anyone wants to contact us via e-mail with more information about him, we’d be happy to hear it, at editor@westseattleblog.com – TR

  • oedipa July 30, 2013 (11:35 pm)

    I’m not sure if he had next of kin, actually…even though I do know he was from W. Seattle stock originally. I withheld his name and withheld comments on purpose for the last few days too just in case he did have family reading this post. Anyway, I’ve been feeling pretty sad about his loss and also for what the SUV driver and his dog had to go through. I think the texting speculations just need to stop. The SUV driver was most likely in the right here and is suffering as a result of t-boning a biker who probably did run a red light (this is speculation, but also based on a police report). Let’s see what the final report is. At least the SUV driver was not impaired. I’m sure he’s torn up about it all…

  • Lori July 31, 2013 (8:34 am)

    My brother was the man killed on the motorcycle. Larry Keller. I know he was well liked in West Seattle. He was quite a “people person”. My heart is breaking for the loss of my only brother and also for the driver of the jeep. May Larry ride with the angels now.

  • I. Ponder July 31, 2013 (8:58 am)

    Regarding several comments saying that talk about texting while driving and talking on phone need to stop, I disagree 100%. It’s not speculation about this particular incident. It’s that horrible incidents like this are preventable, not acts of god. By talking about it, we mean no disrespect, but seek to increase awareness that safety is all about the decisions we and our neighbors make. Unsafe driving practices are epidemic. West Seattle Blog comments offer a place for discussion, and I like to believe that’s beneficial. I thank WSB for working to keep it civil, which is not the case in other unmoderated media forums.

  • John July 31, 2013 (6:32 pm)

    Hi Lori,

    My heart goes out to you and your family for the loss of your brother, Larry. I spent a lot of time at the Alki Tavern for “Taco Thursday,”and the Pioneer Square activities on Taco Thursday.
    Participation in many benefit rides I’ve met some of the nicest people I have known.
    Again, my sorrow goes out to you for having to deal with such an unexpected loss.

    Was Larry in the military? I may have met him in the past at various Harley gatherings. If I can help you in any way, please send me an e-mail.


  • Donna August 15, 2013 (1:02 pm)

    RIP Larry! I’m going to miss you, however, I believe that you are riding in Heaven.

Sorry, comment time is over.