Man arrested after car plows into scaffolding in downtown Seattle crash

Apr 8, 2024, 10:20 AM | Updated: Apr 9, 2024, 4:16 pm

A crash at a busy intersection in downtown Seattle ended with a car plowing through an array of construction scaffolding, appearing to barely miss a nearby building.

Cars passing underneath the Seattle Center Monorail were able to get through Fifth Avenue and Stewart Street Monday morning. But the leftmost lane, already blocked off for construction, became the scene of a pile of twisted wood and metal following a crash the night before.

According to the Seattle Police Department (SPD), around 11:30 p.m. Sunday officers got reports that a car had crashed into a scaffolding on Stewart Street.

SPD said when officers arrived, they saw that two cars were damaged and broken scaffolding was strewn across the street. A Ford SUV was buried under the scaffolding and a Toyota had severe frontend damage. Both drivers were still at the scene, inside their cars.

Police said the drivers were examined by Seattle Fire and had not suffered severe injuries. Police then arrested a 47-year-old man, who was the driver of the Ford, for investigation of DUI. He was later booked into the King County Jail.

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Some people who live nearby and saw the aftermath of the crash told KIRO Newsradio the sedan appeared to veer off the road before the rear of the vehicle came to rest against the side of the five-story Times Square Building, a registered landmark in Seattle.

Tess Corrigan lives nearby and was walking her dog early Monday morning when she stopped to survey the damage. She said incidents like this are not uncommon.

“Cars usually speed by here and they’re on their phone or running red lights, distracted,” Corrigan said. “A lot of times it does happen at night.”

While not confirmed by officials, the sedan appeared to have avoided hitting the building, which now houses multiple retail businesses and a nonprofit organization on its first floor. The car, however, was heavily damaged, with several of the airbags deploying. Even hours after the crash, the car’s doors were all flung open, with hazard lights flashing. There was no sign of the driver. It was not clear if they left the scene themselves or were taken to the hospital with injuries.

The sedan became completely encased by the scaffolding, which prevented it from being towed away until the debris was removed. Crews were still determining how to safely clear the area Monday morning. The other car, and its driver, were not on scene when KIRO Newsradio crews arrived around 5 a.m. Neither were the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) or any other emergency crews. A tow truck responded shortly after 7 a.m. to begin cleanup operations.

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KIRO Newsradio has reached out to Seattle Police and the SDOT for more details.

Contributing: Julia Dallas, MyNorthwest.

You can read more of Kate Stone’s stories here. Follow Kate on X, formerly known as Twitter, or email her here.

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