Car drives through Seattle homeless camp, killing one person

Sep 12, 2016, 6:03 AM | Updated: 11:00 am

Seattle homeless camp...

A car drove through a Seattle homeless camp off of I-5, killing a person sleeping inside a tent in the early morning hours of Sept. 12. (KIRO 7)

(KIRO 7)

A person sleeping in a tent at a Seattle homeless camp off of I-5 was killed when a car drove off the freeway, through the camp, and over the tent.

“At about 4:47 a.m. we received a call that a vehicle left the roadway and struck a tent,” said Washington State Patrol Trooper Rick Johnson. “One of our transportation units got here, a trooper arrived along with the fire department. One individual was pronounced dead at the scene.”

The incident occurred at a homeless camp in a greenbelt along I-5 at the exit to 50th Street in the University District. The piece of land is located between the freeway and the exit to 45th and 50th Streets. The car left the exit ramp and entered into the greenbelt, traveling up the grassy hill. Then the car drove over the tent where a person was sleeping.

City council considers proposal to allow a Seattle homeless camp anywhere in the city

Police say the driver of the car fled the scene of the crash, abandoning the vehicle, but authorities were able to locate him — a male in his early 30s.

“The driver of the vehicle apparently had fled the scene,” Johnson said. “Subsequently, the Seattle Police Department contacted the residence where the vehicle was registered to, and arrested a male individual who had a left ankle injury and some facial lacerations.

“They advised us they had noticed an odor of intoxicants they smelled, and possibly … something else in their system,” he said.

The driver was transported to Harborview Medical Center to be evaluated by a drug and alcohol expert, as well as to have blood drawn to test for intoxicants. Law enforcement is investigating the possibility of a DUI.

The man has been arrested for vehicular homicide.

There are at least three tents set up at the encampment, though possibly more Johnson said. It is unknown if there were other homeless campers present at the time of the incident.

“There were no other individuals in any of the other tents when we arrived,” Johnson said.

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