UPDATE: 35th/Morgan reopens after 4-hour crash investigation

1:38 PM: Thanks for the tip: A sizable “heavy rescue” Seattle Fire response has been sent to 35th and Morgan. Details to come.

1:45 PM: Per scanner, at least one person from this crash is being transported by medic unit. There might be a second victim.

1:50 PM: Adding a photo. Police tell us at the scene that the driver apparently hit a bus – which is pulled over further north on 35th, by the car wash. Avoid the area. A second medic unit was dispatched, so we’re trying to find out more about the second reported victim.

2:03 PM: The Housing Authority van above also is reported to have been hit by the driver of the car shown above. In all, fire/police at the scene tell us that 4 people are hurt – 2 are going/have gone to Harborview by SFD medic unit, one is going to a hospital via private ambulance (AMR), and the fourth person is refusing medical assistance so far. Police say the Traffic Collision Investigation Squad is coming out, and that means the intersection is likely to be closed for a few hours – they’re taping it off right now.

3:16 PM: Photo above shows TCI investigators just after they arrived at the scene. We’ll be checking back in about half an hour to see if it’s still closed. Metro has finally sent an alert for the Route 21 reroute – “Use stops south of SW Holden or north of SW Alaska.” (Added: Here are some additional 21 details.)

3:41 PM: And Metro has just sent Route 128 reroute information: “Use stops on SW Orchard east of Delridge Way or on California SW north of SW Holden.”

4:12 PM: Intersection still closed, wrecked vehicle still there. We will check back in another half-hour.

5:10 PM: We are back at 35th/Morgan. Tow trucks are hooking up to the car and van.

Should be clear before too long. Meantime, SFD tells us a man and woman were taken to the hospital, both in stable condition.

5:47 PM: Just checked again – 35th/Morgan has reopened.

59 Replies to "UPDATE: 35th/Morgan reopens after 4-hour crash investigation"

  • ehyi April 20, 2017 (2:09 pm)

    Riding the 21 from downtown: between this and the shooting there are cops and ambulances​ going everywhere

    • WSB April 20, 2017 (2:43 pm)

      And for anyone who hasn’t heard about “the shooting,” two officers were shot after a robbery response downtown, location listed as Western/Columbia though several other streets are closed. If not for this (35th/Morgan) incident, which happened at almost the same exact moment, we would have something about it here … and depending on the traffic situation downtown over the next hour, if the commute’s going to be affected, we will likely put up some sort of multi-part traffic alert. The Seattle Police Foundation has said the officers will be OK; SPD is briefing media downtown any minute now.

  • Dave April 20, 2017 (2:16 pm)

    There is a traffic light at this intersection. Wonder if someone ran a red? Intersections are one of the most dangerous locations on the road. Keep an eye out, even if you have a green light. Excercise caution at all intersections, controlled and uncontrolled.

    • Bonnie April 20, 2017 (4:38 pm)

      Refusal of Medical Treatment is bizarre to me.  A simple mistake would not seemingly cause this reaction. But I don’t know the details. I pulled up to the scene and was rerouted into side streets without any traffic redirection. That was 2 hours ago. I imagine rush hour will be worse. More importantly have they ruled out an impaired or drunk driver? Hope that is not the case. My thoughts are with the victims of this senseless tragedy. I hope everyone is ok but I fear not. A reminder to all of us that the 35th St corridor is so dangerous.  I drive it many times a week and am very scared that someone I love will get hurt there. Or anywhere else the crazy West Seattle drivers go. 

      • WSB April 20, 2017 (4:42 pm)

        Sometimes being disoriented from your injuries can cause you to try to wave off help. We’ve seen that before. Ultimately – I just got this from SFD and will be updating the story, but had to reply to another commenter who heard something erroneous – two victims were taken to the hospital, both in stable condition. Don’t know about the possible DUI angle – that would be a police question, and as mentioned earlier, I will not be able to ask SPD anything about this before tomorrow because their media-liaison resources are tied up with the shooting situation downtown. – TR

        • bmariconda April 20, 2017 (5:00 pm)

          Absolutely. My concerns are just early speculation. The truth will come out as I am sure the SPD or spokesperson will eventually make a public statement. 

      • SabineRN April 20, 2017 (10:12 pm)

        I work in healthcare, and this happens more often than you’d think, sadly. It could be that this person has poor insurance coverage and is worried about hospital bills. Or it could be that they felt the injuries could be safely treated at home. Ya never know. 

        • Swede. April 21, 2017 (6:57 am)

          It’s a pretty sad fact that people have to choose if they want to get care/be healthy/live vs. not be broke. At least the handful of CEO’s for the insurance companies making a killing and can enjoy a super luxurious life style…

      • Ouch April 20, 2017 (11:26 pm)

        When I was 13 my school bus was rear-ended by a dump truck causing my head to go through the back window of the school bus which resulted in me momentarily losing consciousness.  I refused medical treatment because i was up all night the day before doing my homework  and I was afraid I’d get in trouble if I turned it in late.

        Shock after a bad accident can lead to poor decisions.  It’s possible he’s fine.  It’s possible he’s not and it occurred to him after to go to the doctor on his own.  But it probably happens a lot more than you realize.

  • Leslie Rathbun April 20, 2017 (2:42 pm)

    I was right there (in the opposite direction of traffic) when it happened. It happened so fast that I couldn’t tell what happened – someone (I think it was the car) was going REALLY fast. Scared me to death.

  • Kelly April 20, 2017 (2:58 pm)

    It’s a scary intersection — especially with northbound traffic on 35th coming down the hill and gunning to make the light and “right on red” turners from westbound Morgan.  Sudden stops by people turning in/out of Walgreens and the Gas Station up the ante all the further. 

    This is the intersection where people, frustrated by the 30 MPH speed limit in High Point/Gatewood, let loose when 35th returns to 2-lane. I wish the whole stretch to the Bridge would be like it is in Gatewood, 30 MPH with a consistent turn lane. People drive like maniacs on 35th. Build in some extra time and relax.

    • DumplingGirl April 20, 2017 (3:07 pm)

      100% agree, Kelly. Everyone needs to take a breath and slow down, especially on 35th. I am seeing and hearing about accidents on 35th most days now. I would be curious to know, are there more accidents than there used to be?  I am for the road diet, but I wonder if it’s made drivers more aggressive.

      • WsEd April 20, 2017 (5:17 pm)

        That was going to be my comment.  I wonder if the road diets are actually working or if the psychology of them is playing out in ways they hadn’t intended.  I have seen the same thing, people hitting like 50 mph where 35th transitions from 30 to 35.  

        • Paul April 20, 2017 (6:11 pm)

          Not much different from the way people were driving through that intersection before the road diet.  People were flying down the hill before it was done.

    • Bonnie April 20, 2017 (4:44 pm)

      Yes and they pass on the right, weave in and out of traffic and otherwise jockey for position. I am so terrified every time I drive it. California or Fauntleroy have similar stupid/dangerous Darwin nominated drivers on them. I am working from home and riding the bus. I think I have a better shot at surviving car vs bus if I am on the bus. Sad. 

    • 30 year resident April 20, 2017 (5:32 pm)

      It is not the speed limit, it is the added congestion, such as those not doing the speed limit, sometimes as slow as 20. Many do not know 35th used to be single lane and they widened it to relieve congestion. Now they cause congestion and pit in a suicide lane, wait times have never been long just to turn left due to stupid long lines of cars. Time is money, especially idling for 3 light cycles at every light. As far as this incident, there have been a couple times I’ve seen people doing 60+ passing and swerving around traffic in this very area. Saw a driver, left of me, t-bone a police car once. Patience is definitely needed.

  • Mandy April 20, 2017 (3:05 pm)

    I live two blocks from this and i’ve almost been hit twice crossing the street from cars turning and not paying attention. While pushing my stroller, no less. I’ve also almost been hit in my car trying to turn left onto 35th when traffic going straight swerves around a turning car at high speeds. I hate this intersection. 

    • Gatewoodian April 20, 2017 (3:59 pm)

      I live closeby as well and do what I can to avoid making a left at that intersection, especially during peak times. I’d never try it during rush hour. Between heavy traffic on Morgan and pedestrians usually one car barely makes it through and 2-3 run the light to make the left. 

  • Greystreet April 20, 2017 (3:35 pm)

    I was one of the responders to this accident, wild scene, I hope that everyone injured is ok and gets the appropriate care…kudos to the gentleman who ripped the car door off and got the rest of the people out of the car on fire, it was so nice to see such a response from people witness to the event!!

  • anonyme April 20, 2017 (3:56 pm)

    I was told by a bus driver that there was at least one fatality.

    Judging by the state of the vehicle, there must have been a very high rate of speed involved.  When will we get some traffic enforcement around here?

    • WSB April 20, 2017 (4:40 pm)

      Nope, nobody died. Just got a reply from Seattle Fire’s new PIO – the two victims were taken to Harborview in stable condition.

  • Jack April 20, 2017 (4:04 pm)

    My god, how fast was that car going to get it’s front completely torn off?

  • SunriseHeights April 20, 2017 (4:08 pm)

    And to compound things, there are quite a few police and an ambulance at the bottom of the Holden hill near Delridge. 

  • jennifer coady April 20, 2017 (4:20 pm)

    Any more details on 21 express or 21 on where they will stop before going off their normal route?

  • Ann April 20, 2017 (4:33 pm)

    I’m sorry to hear this happened, and as always, appreciate WSB’s fantastic coverage. We live in High Point and use this intersection frequently. Would like to see some turn signals installed for the east-west traffic to help with the increased volumes. 

    • pupsarebest April 20, 2017 (6:07 pm)

      No doubt, Ann—to say those turn-arrows are long overdue is an understatement. 

  • ~Hockeywitch~ April 20, 2017 (5:02 pm)

    Stupid car is still in the middle of the road… Street sweeper is sweeping… They have Morgan closed at 36th… I drove around their barricade so I could get home, up the alley by the dry cleaner bldg… Ridiculous. 

    • TL April 20, 2017 (9:06 pm)


      Really …  that must have been awful for YOU  stupid investigation! they really should have taken YOUR afternoon commute into account when they were deciding  to investigate what caused this terrible accident yes truly RIDICULOUS

  • fiz April 20, 2017 (5:05 pm)

    Came through from Home Depot direction about fifteen minutes ago.   Streets were still closed and the side streets jammed.  Neighbors out trying to direct traffic.

    • WSB April 20, 2017 (5:08 pm)

      We are here now. Tow trucks hooking up to the car and van so shouldn’t be too much longer.

  • anonyme April 20, 2017 (5:36 pm)

    WSB, thanks for the clarification on the rumored fatality.  That was a pretty irresponsible comment for the bus driver to make.

    • Sam-c April 20, 2017 (9:27 pm)

      I could see how the bus driver might make the assumption. I told my spouse to avoid the intersection for a few hours, because there was a TCIS investigation.  He assumed it was fatality too, because we thought  TCIS and extreme street closures (ie, a REALLY BUSY intersection) were only for fatality accidents.

      • WSB April 20, 2017 (9:44 pm)

        No, they are for a couple options, including life-threatening injuries or DUI, not just deadly crashes.
        I don’t know what Anonyme’s driver saw or heard but … we also get calls sometimes from folks who are certain that some incident or another is deadly because they think they see a covered body, when in reality it’s a patient being worked on, maybe with a blanket or some other kind of covering to keep her/him warm.

        • ehyi April 21, 2017 (9:29 am)

          My southbound 21 rerouted  off 35th onto AK then Fauntleroy (without the driver announcing anything) around 2:20pm yesterday. I’d obviously already read about this accident here on the blog but the driver didn’t know and he told everyone wanting to get to 35th/Morgan to get off at Fauntleroy/California and “take the 128” which was ridiculous bc if the 21 wasn’t running thru 35th/Morgan then how in the hell could the 128 be running? But 5 or 6 passengers got off and waited for the 128 at the bottom of Morgan near Thriftway… while other 21s started coming DOWN Morgan away from 35th! Then, as the 128 never shows up, a Metro employee in a truck pulls up and informs us all that “there’s been a fatality” at 35th/Morgan and 128 isn’t running there – go catch the 128 on California and it’ll take you up to Thistle (or somewhere, near there, since Thistle is where the 21 was rerouting to from Fauntleroy). Anyway, that’s where I heard the mistaken ‘fatality’ rumor start from: a Metro employee. And I know it’s difficult and they’re doing their best, but it seems preposterous that Metro issues a transit alert message hours after the intersection is closed and buses are rerouting when you can easily find this information on Twitter and thru the WSeablog much earlier. Thanks for keeping us informed, WSB!

          • WSB April 21, 2017 (9:37 am)

            Usually advisories emerge a lot quicker but in this case, at least for whomever is tasked with that at Metro headquarters, the downtown officers-shot incident really was a complicating factor, as the major SFD dispatches for both were less than three minutes apart (you can see the calls, Columbia/Western and 35th/Morgan, at 1:25 and 1:28 pm on the archived 911 log for the day). I pinged Metro via Twitter an hour later when no 35th/Morgan advisories had shown up … and they said they were working on it.

  • Ronnie April 20, 2017 (5:58 pm)

    The traffic radar cams in the school zone on Delridge work great to make sure that people stay within the speed limit. I personally wish the city would put  these same cameras on 35th, both directions every 200 yards from Fauntleroy to Roxbury.  People drive like maniacs on that road at all times of day and night.

  • Mark Ahlness April 20, 2017 (6:03 pm)

    Was on a northbound 21 about 2 pm. Sat for quite a while as other 21s started to stack up on 35th. Police finally cleared the Morgan/35th intersection enough for buses only to continue on north via California/Holden. Metro drivers and security were great, leading us through this awful mess. Talking with a driver, I learned about the shooting downtown, and I passed on the info that the WS collision was car vs. bus – news to him – thanks, WSB. 

    My 2 cents on the speed limit issue… 30 or 35 would not have made a difference to the driver of the car involved, which was destroyed.

  • John Watson April 20, 2017 (6:04 pm)

    Filed under “If you do this you should lose your driving privileges permanently”

  • Sunuva April 20, 2017 (6:13 pm)

    I went through this area shortly after it happened. I was driving behind a large police vehicle traveling east on Graham street. The police vehicle sideswiped a small SUV (maybe a Honda CRV or similar) right next to the car wash, tearing up it’s driver side door, fender, and front bumper.

    I know the actual accident is much more important, but I thought whoever owns that SUV might want to know why their vehicle is all messed up when they get back to it.

    • WSB April 20, 2017 (8:09 pm)

      If you believe that a police vehicle hit a car and didn’t circle around at some point to report it – there is a 35th/Graham crash logged in Tweets by Beat but there is no way to know exactly what it refers to – then you really need to report it to SPD.

    • Janet April 20, 2017 (8:48 pm)

      Sunuva-It was my husband’s Jeep SUV that got side-swiped (he was in the car). Brand new, we haven’t even received the plates for it yet. The police acknowledged fault and created an incident report. Now we just have to go through the inconvenience of repair and reimbursement,  which is pretty minor compared to the main story accident. 

      • Sunuva April 21, 2017 (7:10 am)

        Sorry to hear that your new Jeep got messed up, but glad that the police came back and acknowledged fault. I assumed they would, I just wasn’t actually sure they realized they had done that since it was such a chaotic scene. 
        WSB, noted. I just wanted to get out of the area since there was so much craziness going on. If I ever see something like that again, I’ll report it.

  • Mw April 20, 2017 (6:35 pm)

    The accident happened about 1/2 a block south of Morgan and the car came back down the hill spinning in circles. They had to have been travelling very fast to accomplish that.

  • Chris April 20, 2017 (8:03 pm)

    Just wanted to throw this into the mix re speed on the streets.   We’ve been having a terrible time on Admiral as we go the speed limit, people are getting right on our bumper and we seriously have to pull over to get out of the way.   We are able to see the sign showing how fast they are going and ranges from 35 to 40.   How about some patrols over there too to hand out some speeding tickets.   Had the same thing happen on California Ave today with someone speeding as fast as they could to get to the front of the line, then stopped by the light and speeding to stop at a business.   Meanwhile another car floors it almost hitting us at the corner where West Seattle Coins is.   Both stopped at the same business. 

    • Dave April 20, 2017 (11:38 pm)

      Happens to me too. I think there’s just too many bad apples out there and police are overwhelmed. They do seem to patrol Admiral hill often. Wish it made a more longstanding impact. Maybe the fines aren’t high enough.

  • Matt April 20, 2017 (8:03 pm)

    I live 200 feet from the intersection, heard it happen and looked down the street.  Car was on fire with people trapped.  A giant man was yanking the doors open to get the people out.  I went inside and grabbed a fire extinguisher and jogger down.  By the time I got there he had the gotten the fire smoldering and was telling the bystanders to get back while others helped the people pulled from the wreck.  He probably saved a few lives from what I saw.  He might be the person refusing assistance as he cut himself.  Thank you sir.

  • Staci April 20, 2017 (10:39 pm)

    I drive through this intersection almost everyday and I swear there is an accident here every other day. I actually got. I got rearended here two years ago. But I’ve seen cara flipped, on fire, in a pole it’s scary. Something needs to be done and people need to be more careful. I hope everyone is okz

    • Dave April 20, 2017 (11:40 pm)

      I was thinking turn arrows might be a tough sell to SDOT but there seems to have been enough accidents to support changes at this intersection.

  • TreeHouse April 20, 2017 (11:24 pm)

    I wish they would put in speed cameras on 35th that would automatically send tickets out to people speeding and making us all unsafe. Until then, I’ll settle for a road diet all the way north up 35th. 

    • Mike April 21, 2017 (7:19 am)

      Or for less money you can permanently put a single officer waiting there and make people slow down rather than just profit off speeding which won’t stop with just fines (this is proven for nearly 100 years now)

  • Mike April 21, 2017 (7:17 am)

    Wow, hope everyone will be ok.

  • WS Mom April 21, 2017 (8:05 am)

    Because of the backlog of cars on 35th and Morgan, cars are detouring down 34th to bypass the intersection. We live there and have a dog and small child, and almost everyone on this street has kids and pets. Cars come flying down the road so fast no one would be able to get it out of the way. Its just terrible and scares us all. Something needs to be done. I know this is a side note but its just another sign that this intersection is crazy!

    • Mandy April 21, 2017 (8:43 am)

      We’re on 37th and same thing happened on our street until about 7 at night. Not even slowing down at the unmarked intersection of 37+Holly/Warsaw to check for cross traffic. I was certain I was going to see a repeat. 

    • Jay Koster April 21, 2017 (10:48 am)

      I was sitting at West Seattle Elementary after taking some photos for the blog (fun fact: they were right across the street doing the same thing!) and watched at least five cars pass at speed, just minutes before the classes released.

      Why are people so impatient?

      • OP April 21, 2017 (12:19 pm)

        Call me crazy, but maybe people want to get where they’re going at a reasonable pace and in a reasonable amount of time. I’m not excusing the possible speed of the driver that caused the accident, but let’s be honest: the rechannelization has increased the frustration of getting up and down 35th and decreased drive times. It’s the main north-south artery in W. Seattle and Scott Kubley & Co. have FUBAR’d it.

        • brian April 21, 2017 (1:48 pm)

          Agreed. I can’t tell you how many times I lie awake at night screaming at the gods “WHY CAN’T I HAVE THOSE 34 SECONDS BACK THAT I WAS FORCED TO SIT AT A TRAFFIC LIGHT WHYYYYYY????”

        • Alan April 21, 2017 (3:08 pm)

          “Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?” – George Carlin

          I blame the speedsters for the city feeling they need to calm traffic. It was called I35 before the change, so the change doesn’t explain people speeding now. People speeding justify the change.

Sorry, comment time is over.