UPDATE: 2 people rescued from on-its-side vehicle in Seaview

(WSB photos by Patrick Sand)

9:41 AM: Big Seattle Fire/Police response en route right now to 49th SW and SW Graham (map) in Seaview, where a two-car crash is reported, one said to be “on its side” per the dispatch. More to come.

9:44 AM: First SFD crew at the scene confirms one vehicle, an SUV, is on its side and two people are inside – they’re checking on injuries as well as how to get them out. The response is being upgraded to “heavy rescue,” which means even more SFD vehicles headed that way.

9:52 AM: They’re getting the two people out now. Some of the responding units are being canceled.

9:58 AM: Our crew at the scene confirms both people are out of the vehicle that went into a tree on the SE corner of 49th/Graham; the other vehicle is a silver Volvo still out in the intersection.

Lots of SFD units still in the area so stay clear – 49th is residential but 48th, one block east, is a minor arterial through the area.

10:04 AM: Per our crew, the two people who were cut out of that vehicle – you’ll note that its roof is now missing, as shown in our top photo – will be taken to a hospital for evaluation, by private ambulance.

10:32 AM: The flipped Hyundai was headed eastbound on Graham, the Volvo northbound on 49th, when they collided, police tell us, as they continue investigating. The Volvo’s driver was unhurt.

36 Replies to "UPDATE: 2 people rescued from on-its-side vehicle in Seaview"

  • Tiffany September 2, 2015 (9:58 am)

    Pray everyone is ok. Sending prayers.

  • Sean September 2, 2015 (10:00 am)

    When will they finally put stop/yield signs in these uncontrolled intersections?

  • M September 2, 2015 (10:09 am)

    Signs at every intersection are not necessary and a waste of money. It is okay to slow down and look as opposed to just going straight on through.

  • Gretchen F September 2, 2015 (10:09 am)

    Sorry to hear, hope no one was seriously injured. That said, I am not surprised that an accident of this nature finally happened at this intersection since MANY drivers approach or blow through in east/west direction at about 25-30 mph without bothering to slow and check for north/south traffic. Further, visibility is slightly compromised by a fence on the NE corner.

  • Assam September 2, 2015 (10:14 am)

    Have to be going pretty fast to flip like that on a residential street. Why are there so many flipped car accidents in WS recently? Do people over-correct their steering wheel to avoid an accident then flip themselves off the road? Hope that everyone is okay. Stay safe out there, lots of clueless drivers around.

  • Seaview Res September 2, 2015 (10:17 am)

    The only thing that slows cars down in this neighborhood are traffic circles. I get in near accidents almost weekly at both consistently ignored 49th Ave 4-Way stops and a few nearby yield signs, when I am supposed to be the car with the right of way. But the city says traffic circles are too expensive…

    • WSB September 2, 2015 (10:26 am)

      High speed is NOT necessarily required to flip some vehicles. We’ve had that discussion in numerous comment threads on past crashes (came up here, for example). As for “why so many?” they seem to happen in waves. Not a factor today but at least one we covered recently was in heavy rain (Roxbury/5th, the deluge 2 1/2 weeks ago). They happen elsewhere but depending on whether a neighborhood has a publication that consistently covers breaking news, they aren’t always covered. (And on occasion, we miss one if everyone gets out even before it’s reported and so there’s not a major response like this …) We pointed out in that same thread linked above, many more crashes *aren’t* rollovers/flips, but we don’t cover every crash, just the ones we get word of that bring a big response and/or have major injuries (or worse). Most of the non-major ones are tagged on the SFD log as “motor vehicle incident”- TR

  • HelperMonkey September 2, 2015 (10:26 am)

    Hope everyone’s ok. This is *pulls out club to beat dead horse* why I stop and look before proceeding at every unmarked intersection (even the ones with yield signs, 42nd and Findlay I am looking at you). some people seem to think they’re more important than everyone else and just blow right through. I’d rather take two extra seconds to protect my car from being t-boned by a selfish jerk.

  • ongrahm September 2, 2015 (10:28 am)

    Agree with Gretchen F. I live on Graham and am shocked by the speeds people travel on this street. I often hear cars and trucks bottoming out as they descend westbound from California. When going east, cars frequently accelerate to unsafe speeds to make the light at California. I’ve contacted SDOT for traffic calming help here, but as it’s a primary route for emergency response into Seaview, not much they can do.

  • carol September 2, 2015 (10:41 am)

    As not a dead horse to beat, but the usual THANKS to WSB for letting us know. Heard the sirens, checked the blog…. You know the drill. We are very lucky to have you as a news source.

    • WSB September 2, 2015 (10:53 am)

      Thanks, Carol – if it’s a big response, we get something out fast as we can. And if we fail to do that and you’re wondering, please text/call our hotline, 206-293-6302, any time of day or night – we answer questions as best we can, even on things that sometimes don’t turn out to be news stories – TR

  • GlennS September 2, 2015 (10:43 am)

    HelperMonkey is (pun semi-intentional) bang-on. Fences, trees, hedges, hills (39th Ave north of Alaska, I’m looking at YOU)… SLOW the frack DOWN and Pay Attention. Not doing so can be quite painful. DAMHIK.

  • Oakley34 September 2, 2015 (10:58 am)

    i also live on graham (albeit a bit east-but I used to live on graham closer to this site and still often walk the hood) and am also outraged (though no longer shocked) daily at the speeds people travel on residential streets. I agree traffic circles help a ton (I used to hate them and was just defending them to my visiting parents). While speed isn’t always the issue it is usually a factor in some way, and a few extra seconds of reaction/braking time is extra important these days with all the distracted drivers and drivers using or abusing prescription painkillers etc.

  • Seattlite September 2, 2015 (11:06 am)

    I live in the immediate area of this intersection. It’s an uncontrolled intersection that drivers fly through without slowing down and looking for approaching vehicles. It seems that drivers don’t understand that uncontrolled intersections require the driver to slow down and look. I hope that everyone involved in this accident is okay.

  • A Dad September 2, 2015 (11:37 am)

    Hope everyone is good. I was just walking here this morning with my toddler and wife. Must have just missed it.

    In my experience, drivers go way too fast at the uncontrolled intersections in this neighborhood. Without the yield or stop, drivers seem to think they can just fly by without looking both ways. I’m not sure if that is the cause of this accident, but it is a huge liability in these neighborhoods especially with so many children.

  • pupsarebest September 2, 2015 (11:49 am)

    As long as we’re talking about traffic issues/hazards in this specific neighborhood, how about the tree-obscured stop sign on the southwest corner of SW Graham & 48th SW?
    Eastbound drivers on Graham have to be practically on top of the stop sign before seeing it, as a row of thundercloud plum trees totally blocks it from view.
    Those familiar with this situation won’t run the stop sign, but the possibility exists for drivers unfamiliar with this intersection.
    How about removing or severely pruning at least the tree closest to the stop sign?

    • WSB September 2, 2015 (12:03 pm)

      Please report road-safety hazards to 206-684-ROAD. (Maybe you already have … if not, that’s who to call.) – TR

  • ChefJoe September 2, 2015 (12:27 pm)

    pupsarebest, street trees grow slowly enough and sometimes property owners don’t even know they’re responsible for maintenance. Does that homeowner still have the large rocks right off the curbs in the planting strip?

    Trees must be planted to the following standards:
    30 feet from street intersections.

    You can also file a DPD vegetation complaint online related to sidewalks or the roadway for poorly maintained planting strip trees.

    Ensure vegetation has an 8-foot clearance over sidewalks and a 14-foot clearance over traveled roads.

  • Julia September 2, 2015 (12:47 pm)

    I’ve lived in that area my whole life and have always considered that one of the most dangerous intersections. Both the east/west and north/south routes are used as unofficial arterials and people race through without looking. A prime candidate for a traffic circle, IMO.

  • Gretchen F September 2, 2015 (1:04 pm)

    I am in full agreement with Sean and HelperMonkey regarding the placement of Yield signs or traffic circles at uncontrolled intersections such as this one; anything to slow drivers down and be a bit more alert. Ditto too, regarding the maples on the SW corner of 48th & Graham, difficult to see northbound traffic, so thanks to pupsarebest and ChefJoe for those comments/links.
    Thanks also to WSB for their always great coverage!

  • Elisaid September 2, 2015 (1:10 pm)

    I leave for work via an alley just off California onto Graham and I feel like I am taking my life into my hands every morning. Between cars parking right up to the alley entrance, and cars speeding west on Graham I never know if I am going to get t-boned or not when finally pulling out of the alley.

  • pam September 2, 2015 (2:20 pm)

    I don’t know Gretchen, I was driving on 47th about an hour ago and slowed to a stop at the traffic circle on Andover, just to have a car fly around the circle, right through the intersection without a glance…. and then the car behind them did the same thing as the passenger had a huge grin on her face. I was on the right, had the right of way but thankfully know better then to assume others will stop.

  • cluelessinws September 2, 2015 (3:10 pm)

    Ain’t density grand?

  • sc September 2, 2015 (3:10 pm)

    I also have had cars fly through the traffic circle at 45th and Andover, without even a glance. If I did not stop I would have been hit.

  • carole September 2, 2015 (4:51 pm)

    I slow down at all uncontrolled intersections and circles and am usually rewarded by an angry beep from the car behind me. As for vision blockers, what’s with all the cars parked about 5 feet from stop signs? The rule, clear on the signs, is 30 feet. Cars facing east to 35th, especially at Andover, are a constant problem. Ditto facing California north of Alaska and Admiral junctions.

  • pupsarebest September 2, 2015 (4:54 pm)

    Thanks to all who provided information on where to address the issue of the obscured stop sign I commented on.
    Given the egregious nature of the situation, frankly I am surprised it hasn’t been addressed by residents in that neighborhood, and/or the cops who pass through that intersection on a regular basis.

  • ChefJoe September 2, 2015 (6:27 pm)

    pupsarebest, I went walking through that area along 48th and it’s clear that one tree was eliminated from where they added that stop sign but they need to go for the full 30 ft and remove the second tree back from the stop sign. The homeowner also still has those strategically placed large rocks that would make street parking in front of the home a hazard to passenger side doors.

    I also noticed that a lot of recently (city) planted street trees along 48th aren’t exactly compliant with the stated guidelines of 3.5′ back from the curb or 30 ft from intersections.

  • That Guy September 2, 2015 (6:45 pm)

    A little common sense goes a long way folks. In fact, a very low level of common sense is needed to avoid situations such as this one. This “accident” shouldn’t have happened. People drive way too fast in this neighborhood and all of Seattle for that matter. I sometimes roll one of my son’s soccer balls into the street when I hear someone ripping down the block. Man do they hammer on the brakes; and the look on their faces once they realize they could have just killed someone is worth it every time. What a crummy thing to resort to. Not just the speeding, but there is s chronic issue with blatant turning without even looking. It’s truly unbelievable to watch people drive like this. Amazing behavior I say. It’s a poor way to combat such people, but nothing else seems to be effective. When I’ve motioned for people to slow down or look before turning they sometimes flip me the bird (very low class) or even speed up. Ugh, people are hopeless. As for those who are saying prayers for these people, do that, they surely need a prayer. I myself have no sympathy for drivers. One of them should have stopped. I’m always looking and ALWAYS slowing and/or stopping at these uncontrolled intersections. It’s just the wise thing to do. I mean really, can you imagine just driving through an intersection without even looking. That wouldn’t feel right. Lastly, sometimes an incident like this is a positive in that it tightens a person up and checks oneself…but all too often they fail to get the message and go right back to doing it wrong. Figure it out folks, it’s really easy to drive a vehicle, especially in the daytime with pleasant conditions. Ugh…

  • That Guy September 2, 2015 (8:32 pm)

    Heh heh, Chef Joe. What’s cookin’? Upon buying a home one assumes the responsibility of maintaining the said property. This includes the trees in the street/parking strip. To say they don’t know this is ridiculous. These folks should probably live in apartments, but that’s another story.

    Anyways, on a super side note, what about all the foliage that makes it very hard to see people wishing to cross California by Elliott Bay Brewery? That crosswalk has an awesome hiding place on the west side where people magically appear. I can’t tell if they want to cross, are just hanging out, or are checking on the health of the foliage. Regardless, it’s absurd to have such a blocking tree/bush RIGHT WHERE EVERYONE IS TRYING TO CROSS. Almost every time I pass through this area I see a close call…amazing. I know others notice this, too. I’ve always wondered why someone doesn’t remove the foliage that creates this dangerous situation (blind hiding spot with poor visibility) but whatever, just waive one of those orange flags, close one eye and go for it!

  • Seattlite September 2, 2015 (9:06 pm)

    That Guy — In my experience fewer pedestrians are using cross walks in West Seattle but instead jaywalk, which is, as far as I know, illegal in WA. Drivers and pedestrians are not using common sense anymore…what is up with that?

    • WSB September 2, 2015 (9:10 pm)

      What you might consider “jaywalking” actually is NOT illegal – we had this discussion in various previous comment threads. But if you are crossing midblock, you’re supposed to yield to vehicles. (Short way to summarize it, I don’t have time to look up the links right this moment.) – Tracy

  • neighbor September 2, 2015 (9:18 pm)

    That Guy – were you there? These people are “hopeless, needing a prayer,” and you have “no sympathy for them.” Rather harsh, I think, given you were not there and have no idea what happened, other than the excellent reporting from the WSB. The Blog reports the facts and does not assign blame. And they were there on-site, not at home behind their computer.

  • Alan September 2, 2015 (10:28 pm)

    WSB and Seattlite, here is the link to Pedestrian Law.
    I think the key point to the discussion is WAC 504-14-940 #4 – Pedestrians who are between adjacent intersections at which traffic control signals are in operation must not cross at any place except in a marked crosswalk.


    WAC 132E-16-040 #5 Yield right of way. Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than in a marked crosswalk or within an unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield the right of way to all vehicles upon the roadway.

    I have to wonder though if it is ignorance of:
    RCW 46.04.160


    “Crosswalk” means the portion of the roadway between the intersection area and a prolongation or connection of the farthest sidewalk line or in the event there are no sidewalks then between the intersection area and a line ten feet therefrom, except as modified by a marked crosswalk.

    I think most drivers are ignorant of there being a crosswalk at every intersection, whether it is marked or not. I say that based on my experience of trying to cross a street without a crosswalk. They probably think I am jaywalking.

  • David September 3, 2015 (7:20 am)

    Assam, the reason there are so many rollovers is because so many people drive SUVs. SUVs have higher center of gravity than a normal car. They are consequently more prone to rollovers when the driver makes a quick steering correction.

  • Aaron September 3, 2015 (9:48 am)

    Not to be negative, but this type of call is NOT a “Heavy Rescue.” This is a single-vehicle rollover, with a simple extrication situation. Still don’t understand why SFD sends a Heavy Rescue response for something like this, when they have a “RESCUE-AUTOMOBILE” response that can easily handle this type of call.

    A Heavy Rescue incident gets 14 fire department resources, and is intended for something like a building collapse or something WAY more technical.

    The RESCUE AUTOMOBILE response gets 8 fire department resources. That’s a ton of personnel, and should be able to easily handle something as routine as a single-vehicle rollerover accident.

    • WSB September 3, 2015 (10:41 am)

      Aaron – since you bring it up – this was originally dispatched as a Rescue Automobile (as originally shown on the real-time online log, which we saw within a minute of hearing the dispatch over the air) and then upgraded by request of someone in the field to “Heavy Rescue.” The reason they asked for the latter was cited over the air as a “stability issue.” – Tracy

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