It has been a busy month for vehicles versus large stationary objects

Image: @jordanilarde

Image: @jordanilarde

June has gotten off to a real bang. There have been no less than three vehicle-versus-large-object collisions in Montlake since the beginning of the month. First, there was a June 3rd collision at the Snohomish Overpass to Hec-Ed on Montlake Blvd (above). Then early Tuesday morning, a car crashed into a house on 24th Ave E just after 1am.

The woman’s boyfriend told KIRO 7 a small animal startled her as she was behind the wheel, and she panicked, causing her to back abruptly from her driveway, through a fence, and into the house next door.

Inside the home, part of the rear bumper was visible through a large crack in the wall.  The impact scattered furniture and other belongings around the living room.  Firefighters put yellow tape across the room to keep the couple out of the area that might have been unsafe.  Neither they, nor the driver were injured.

Image: KIRO 7 News

And today, the Washington State Patrol responded to a truck collision with the Arboretum’s Wilcox Footbridge, a popular place for overheight vehicle strikes. While it appeared no one was injured, the truck’s rack and roof were destroyed.

Image: Montlaker

Image: Montlaker

The 1910 bridge seemed okay. It has seen worse, like this 2008 Garfield High School charter bus collision.

In other large-object-news, Pontoon T, one of the cracked pontoons for the new 520 Bridge, is heading off to dry dock today. Tug boats Solana and Mudcat will guide ‘T’ through the Ballard Locks around 6pm, before overnighting in Shilshole Bay. Tomorrow ‘T’ begins a 4-5 journey to Portland, OR, where it will be retrofitted with post-tensioned tendons and carbon fiber wrap to seal up its concrete cracks. More info on pontoon progress from WSDOT here.

Wrong way driver charged with vehicular homicide

From the King County Prosecutor’s office:

Vehicular Homicide Charge Filed in SR-520 Collision: Michael Anthony Robertson was charged this afternoon with Vehicular Homicide for a collision on SR-520 near Montlake that killed a woman who was driving to work yesterday morning. The defendant is accused of being under the influence alcohol and going the wrong way on SR-520 before colliding with a car driven by Morgan Williams, 58. If convicted as charged, the sentence range is 78 to 102 months in prison. Robertson, 25, will be booked into the King County Jail after he is released from the hospital. Bail has been set at $1 million. Last year, the Washington State Legislature approved a bill that doubled the standard range for vehicular homicide (DUI), making it equal to a sentence for manslaughter in the first degree. Robertson will be arraigned on April 18 at 8:30 a.m. in courtroom 1201 at the King County Courthouse.

Update 5:30pm:

From King County Superior Court charging documents:

…fixing the bail of the defendant in the amount of $1,000,000.

He entered the 520 bridge from Seattle to drive eastbound toward Bellevue, but U-turned and began accelerating the wrong-way back toward Seattle.

The defendant came around the corner and slammed into her car with a closing speed of approximately 100mph under the Montlake Street overpass. Both cars slid westbound and came to rest just west of the overpass.

The defendant was trapped in his car with a broken ankle. He kept trying to exit the car and “go home.”

An open, nearly empty bottle of whiskey was in his front seat.

The rest of the details here.

This post has been corrected: “closing speed” refers to the speed at which the two vehicles approached each other at impact.

Victim of wrong way crash dies

Image: Twitter @JonRepp

Image: Twitter @JonRepp

The victim in this morning’s wrong way, head on collision has died according to The Seattle Times:

A woman died from her injuries late this morning after a wrong-way driver slammed head-on into her car on Highway 520 near Montlake Boulevard about 5:30 a.m.

Police arrested the driver of the other car and said it appeared he had been drinking.

The Washington State Patrol says the woman who died is Morgan F. Williams, 58, of Seattle. The driver of the other vehicle, an SUV, was identified as 25-year-old Michael A. Robertson of Tacoma. He suffered a leg injury and was taken to Harborview Medical Center. State Patrol Sgt. John Sager said the man was arrested for investigation of vehicular assault.

Sager said Robertson drove his 1993 Ford Explorer westbound into the eastbound lanes of Highway 520, crashing head-on into Williams’ Mazda Protege.

Eastbound traffic was closed for more than two hours while rescuers cut the woman from her car. She was taken to Harborview, where she died, said State Patrol spokesman Bob Calkins.

This alcohol-fueled fatality comes on the heels of a March 25th drunk driving assault on a family walking across N.E. 75th Ave in Wedgwood. Two people died in that incident, while a mother and newborn infant remain hospitalized. Today’s tragic assault on 520 is equally as senseless.

This wrong way collision has left many wondering just how Mr. Robertson managed to drive west on Eastbound 520. It appears he either entered onto 520 using the Eastbound on-ramps — or was traveling east on the mainline — then U-turned and traveled west in the opposite direction. Robertson’s SUV slammed into Williams’ sedan just west of the Montlake Blvd overpass. The victim was removed from the car after emergency crews cut off the roof of her car. Mr. Robertson was hospitalized with a leg injury.

If anyone has information about this incident, contact the Washington State Patrol at (425) 401-7740.

Heartfelt condolences to the family of Ms. Morgan Williams.

Wrong way collision blocks eastbound 520

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An apparent head on collision shortly before 5:30am has blocked all lanes of eastbound 520 near Montlake Blvd. Seattle Fire reports one person has been taken to Harborview while another remains trapped.

News helicopters are hovering above the neighborhood. WSDOT reports this could be an “extended closure” and to avoid Eastbound 520 this morning.

Update 6:45am:

KIRO reports a Ford Explorer drove westbound into the eastbound lanes near Montlake Blvd. The State Patrol believes alcohol was a factor in this collision.

Hole closes middle Montlake Bridge lanes

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Crews repairing hole in bridge deck. Image: Montlaker

A hole in the steel grating of the Montlake Bridge has closed the middle two lanes and caused huge traffic backups since it was discovered around 1pm this afternoon. Crews on the scene estimate another 40 minutes of work is needed to repair the damaged grating but can offer no guarantees (as of 7pm). Traffic is detouring through residential streets so be careful out there folks.

And in a cruel display of irony, adding to the parade of brake lights is the holiday parade of boats through the Montlake Cut:

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UPDATE 7:35pm: Metro says all lanes are now back open.