Major injury accident closes 15th Ave NW

Updated 8:20 a.m. Three people, including a three-year-old-girl, were taken to Harborview Medical Center after a multiple car accident at 15th Ave NW and NW 75th St. We just spoke with Helen Fitzpatrick of the Seattle Fire Department who tells us only one patient, a man who was extricated from a vehicle, had life-threatening injuries. The girl and other male patient were both conscious and alert.

Earlier: Police say a man in his 40’s was driving a black Ford Fusion headed northbound on 15th at a high rate of speed around 6:15 Thursday evening. Witnesses tell police that the Fusion hit one car at NW 70th St without stopping and then rear-ended a Subaru at the intersection of NW 75th St.

The force of the second crash forced the Subaru under the rear of a Dodge truck, which was pushed into another Subaru and a Volvo. All were vehicles traveling northbound, police say.

Police are still looking into why the first Subaru caught fire with the 40-something-year-old driver and three-year-old girl trapped inside. Witnesses tell us that some bystanders raced to help the girl escape — an employee at Rizzo’s is believed to have pulled the girl from the vehicle. The neighbors surrounding this accident are to be commended for their help to the victims,” says WonderMother in comments. “They responded with extinguishers to put out the car fire and also a bystander started CPR.” Because of how the vehicles were positioned, police say crews from Seattle Fire had to rescue the driver.

Fitzpatrick tells us Medics performed CPR on the driver of the Subaru and he has life-threatening injuries at Harborview Medical Center. The girl was alert, conscious and crying, according to Fitzpatrick, who says she may have had a broken bone, and was also transported to Harborview. The driver of the Ford was also taken to Harborview. No other major injuries were reported.

Police say that no one was cited at the scene of the crash, which is standard procedure given the amount of follow-up investigation and collision reconstruction required.

15th Avenue NW was completely shut down at the scene of the accident for nearly five hours while officers and detectives conducted their on-scene investigation. The road is now back open.

“The Seattle Police Department would like to commend those citizens who courageously and selflessly put themselves in danger to help those in need,” the SPD Blotter states.

You can see more photos from the accident scene, courtesy of Silver, posted here.

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70 thoughts to “Major injury accident closes 15th Ave NW”

  1. Happened right in front of my dance studio. The fire department had to cut off the top of the car to rescue the driver that was sandwiched in the middle. Two cars were at the stoplight when the third failed to stop for the red light and rear ended them at about 50 miles per hour.

  2. Definitely very serious unjuries. The little girl was unconscious and the ambulence she was put into was not in a hurry to leave. They were either working on her in the ambulence a very long time or they just weren’t in hurry because she didn’t make it. Same with the driver that had to be cut out of the car. After he was in the ambulence it did not leave for a long time. Not a good sign.

  3. The firefighters were doing chest compressions/CPR on the guy in the middle car that they had to cut out with the Jaws of Life…hope he’s okay…

  4. I was in the area and saw the Heavy Rescue Response truck speeding up 15th. I followed, and got some photos with my iPhone. The Quality sucks, but it’s better than nothing.

  5. I only heard it, didn’t see it until I opened my curtains to see what had happened. But according to witnesses I talked to the driver hit some one prior to this accident and then kept going. Then he plowed into the two cars at the stop light. Another witness said the driver that caused the accident was having a seizure. We don’t know if the seizure was caused by the impact or if the accident happened because he had a seizure behind the wheel. But when I saw the driver (post seizure) he was coherent and did not appear intoxicated or anything.

  6. Reading the comments just takes my breath away. I have a young toddler. This shouldn’t have happened. My thoughts are with all of those involved. What a terrible night for several families.

  7. I drove by seconds after the accident occured – I have never seen such a mangled mess in my life – the poor fellow in the car seemed to be having seizures, was rocking back and forth behind the wheel – an image I will not soon forget. I am hoping for the best, but fear the worst – I cannot imagine how anyone could survive such a horrible horrible wreck. My prayers are with them all.

  8. The neighbors surrounding this accident are to be commended for their help to the victims. They responded with extinguishers to put out the car fire and also a bystander started CPR. The little girl was awake at the scene.

  9. If she was awake she was limp. When I first saw a woman carrying the child I thought she was a sleeping child hat was not part of the accident (you would think if she was in the accident someone would not be moving her by walking around with her in their arms). The child wasn’t moving or holding her head up, just laying limp in the woman’s arms as she carried her. So if she was awake, she was not mobile.

  10. How horrible to have to see that! Although, to shed some hope, I was in a horrible car accident years ago and when witnesses found me was having a horrible seizure. And I survived intact (thanks to witnesses, the EMT’s and hospital). I really hope that everyone involved in this accident survives and heals and will one day only have it be a bad memory.

  11. I passed through that very intersection with my daughter in the car just an hour before that accident. This really shakes me up! I hope to read follow-up that everyone survived and is recovering.

  12. I was waiting at 15th and Market for the bus before the accident happened, waiting for the 15, and noticed a black Ford (which ended up being the one that was at the rear of the accident) stopping and starting at 15th and Market — when the light went green, it waited quite a while before heading forward — figured they might be texting or something. Of course, when the 15 arrived, there was no way we were heading north of 73rd — got off the bus, and saw the black Ford. When I saw the center car, though, I was horrified.

    I hope everyone pulls out of this ok.

  13. No question it just makes your heart ache. My 4 y.o. and I drove south past that location about 2 minutes earlier and then watched a seeminly endless line of emergency vehicles stream up 15th in that direction. Upon our return home around 8pm the cops were detouring traffic onto 70th ave right near our house. People being detoured were screaming past our home on 14th at 30-40 mph. I only want to implore anyone reading this to just slow it down in the neighborhoods. I really beg you. In these neighborhood streets there’s no reason to ever go more than about 15-20 mph in our non-arterial streets–remember their our streets and our kids we’re trying to protect and teach. Pax.

  14. “The Seattle Times is now reporting that none of the injuries are life threatening. Relieved!! ”

    Huh. The report I read stated that three people had injuries that were life threatening. So I hope that you’re right, and I’m wrong.

  15. I live around the corner from where this happened. My housemates and I heard the crash– it was so loud and awful– and ran out to help. The person in the car which hit the other cars was having a seizure and nobody knew if he was already having it or if it was caused by the accident. He was certainly in a daze. He did get out and walk around, though. The driver in the middle car was unconscious the whole time and after the emergency crews cut him out of his car, they performed chest compressions constantly. As another person mentioned, the ambulances didn’t exactly speed off with their sirens on. I’ve been convinced all night that the little girl’s father died instantly based on what I saw and what I heard from other witnesses. The fact that the news is reporting he’s in critical condition is hopeful to me. I have never wanted to be wrong this badly in my life.

  16. Mortie, I’d talk to the SPD with your observations from 15th and Market. It seems what you saw was perhaps 1-2 minutes before the accident and is material to me.

  17. This was barely more than an hour after a bad accident at Woodland Place N and 62nd N, where a car appeared to have gone off Aurora and flipped upside down. I drove by just as the ambulance pulled away with a police car after it–it was not in a hurry–I could only think the driver did not survive. The emergency services people were busy indeed yesterday evening in our area. I echo the plea for everyone to slow down…the poor families having to get these terrible phone calls. It’s been on my mind all night.

  18. My guess is the seizure may have been caused by a severe concussion/head injury during the accident. I have a friend with epilepsy and she has never been able to walk after a major seizure. Although that would explain why he was not cited for hit-n-run at the accident if he was having the seizure which caused the accident. How horribly tragic all around. I kept thinking of the little girl and her father and thinking how I’d feel if it were my family and feeling awful all night about it. I looked at the time of the accident and it was actually just a half hour before that my daughter and I drove through that intersection. It just really hits close to home.

  19. Well from what I know about a friend who had epilepsy, she was not supposed to drive (but did anyway). Hopefully if this guy DID have a seizure, it was his first. If not & he has epilepsy, he shouldn’t have been driving. Either way I’m sure it will come out in the investigation. So hoping these 3 people are going to be ok!

  20. When you get your license, they ask if you’ve had a seizure in the last six months. Some people with epilepsy go years without having a seizure, so some feel safe driving, while others would never risk it.

  21. There was no fire. The powder that acts as a lubricant for the airbag was mistaken for smoke – a very common occurrence. I wasn’t there but I talked to firefighters who were and they confirmed this.

  22. You are wrong. I was there, one of the responders before the firefighters got there, and there was a fire, and a bystander put it out with a hand-held extinguisher. Both black vehicles had a fire burning underneath them.

  23. Tickyree, sometimes EMTs won’t turn on sirens when there’s a brain injury involved; the sound has been shown to potentially worsen damage.

  24. Yes. A fire extinguisher was used to put out a fire at the back end of the middle car. The white powder was from the fire extinguisher.

  25. I have a friend with epilepsy and it depends. For several years she wasn’t able to drive because the seizures were not under control. I can’t say it was a legal matter – it was something she talked about with her doctor. Once her seizures were under control (medication cocktail started working properly and she had gone a certain amount of time without a seizure) she got the okay to drive again from her doctor. A lot of people with epilepsy can tell when a seizure is coming on – it doesn’t just come out of nowhere.

    All that being said, there are many conditions that can cause seizures, not just epilepsy.

  26. I just saw on channel 22 that the driver of the middle car (the one with the little girl) was killed. This is the first confirmation I have found but it sure seemed like he died at the scene. I was surprised it had been reported that he was in critical condition, and clung to that in hopes I was wrong, but apparently I’m not. My heart breaks for the poor little girl and her family.

  27. The father of the little girl has not died. He is in a coma and in critical condition, but he has not died. Please keep them in your thoughts.

  28. Speed kills. The article said he was traveling at high speed, or rather “a high rate of speed” which I believe means the same thing as “high speed”. While I would have just said “high speed”, most people prefer to say “high rate of speed”. I think they both mean the same thing, but “rate of speed” is redundant. Redundancy may be a way of placing more emphasis on the fact that he was traveling at high speed; or, it may be a way of convincing the author that he is more fluent or erudite, while at the same time demonstrating to me that he is very conventional and vapid. Either way, 50 m.p.h. on 15th Ave. NW is too Goddamn fast.

  29. Maybe he had a medical problem as he was driving because I really don’t think any father would drive like that with his child in the car. Don’t be so quick to judge before you know.

  30. Maybe he had a medical problem as he was driving because I really don’t think any father would drive like that with his child in the car. Don’t be so quick to judge before you know.

  31. Are you sure?
    Is your source reliable?
    I have been searching and searching and can’t get ANY more info on any of it!
    I so hope you are correct!!!!!!!!!!!

  32. Spring:
    You’ve confused the two drivers. The man who was speeding (traveling at a “high rate of speed”) and caused the accident was the only person in his vehicle. There was no child with him.

    The car he rear-ended had another man and his daughter in it. Let’s hope they all pull through.

  33. The driver of the Subaru with the little girl inside has passed away. The girl is now without a father. This horrific accident could have been avoided. Devastating.

  34. My deepest condolences to the family. Absolutely devastating, indeed. I’m the partner of Mortie, who witnessed the driver back at 15th and Market, and who then saw the horrific aftermath when he exited the bus at 75th, and we live literally around the corner from the scene. We have a 3- and 4-year-old as well, and this couldn’t hit closer to home, in every sense. Do let us know if there will be a community memorial.

  35. I am so sorry for your loss!
    I know no words can ever really help to ease the loss you bear just know, and please pass along, that our thoughts and prayers are with you and the family!!!
    And thank you for letting us know!

  36. Andy Kotowicz, (from Ann Arbor – Huron class of ’91) who works at sub-pop records was the driver in the subaru, and he died on Saturday of his injuries. His daughter is doing well.

  37. So very sad!!!!!
    But, am glad to hear his daughter is doing well!
    Thank you so much for keeping us informed! This is hard for everyone involved! I pray for healing for all!

  38. Unfortunately, this is what I fear will one day happen on 32nd Ave NW between NW 65th St and NW 85th with all the speeding some fools will do it seems every night. I just wish they had a SPD patrol car sitting on the side streets to catch them before anyone one gets hurt.

    I hope they throw the book at that jerk for all the pain he has caused.

  39. Thank you for letting us know. We are all so so so sad. My partner arrived at the intersection just after the crash and crawled into the car to give Andy CPR until the Medics arrived. He was so prayerful that Andy would recover. This will be hard for him, as it is for everyone. Thank you again for letting us know.

  40. Thank you for letting us know. We are all so so so sad. My partner arrived at the intersection just after the crash and crawled into the car to give Andy CPR until the Medics arrived. He was so prayerful that Andy would recover. This will be hard for him, as it is for everyone. Thank you again for letting us know.

  41. “just wish they had a SPD patrol car sitting on the side streets”
    There is nearly always a patrol car sitting in or near the Ballard Pancake House parking lot in the evenings. Unfortunately this was much early than that.

  42. I live and work in Seattle. In the past 10 years, I have been rear-ended 4 times, two of them severe enough impacts where all the passive and active safety features of the car activated. Fortunately, the injuries for myself or my wife have been relatively minor, owing mostly to being in modern and well built cars. In every incident I was stopped at traffic, for a pedestrian or at a light, not brake checking or anything stupid like that.

    I live in fear of having this happen to me or my family. I have a 4 year old daughter myself.

    I don’t know what it is about Seattle, but people here just suck at driving.

    (To be fair about the relative dangers, the driver of this car was out of it and unable to react to avoid or minimize an accident regardless of speed. While higher speeds mean worse collisions, your more common scenario of a car simply exceeding the speed limit would be much more likely to be braking in reaction before the collision, which this driver apparently wasn’t. Now of course, I’d rather be hit by somebody braking from a slower speed than a higher one, but I don’t think every or even most cars doing 50 in a 30 means a collision with this outcome is likely)

  43. The discussion is a good one. I live in this neighborhood too, blocks away from the scene. My daughter walks to school and home across 15th every day. I see people speeding down 15th ALL the time as if it were Aurora and I rarely see people get pulled over. I definitely think that there needs to be more law enforcement on 15th and in this neighborhood in general. I think people “suck at driving” because they can get away with driving that way.

  44. f any of this rings a bell, and you don’t know where to start, then a personal injury lawyer in … … then you may be thinking about seeking compensation or getting some help from a personal injury lawyer. …
    I think that in cases where the injuries are more difficult for a jury to understand, such as soft tissue injuries, evidence of liability may be the best stuff that plaintiff’s counsel has to offer. In such a case, I think it makes sense not to file a motion for summary judgement. In cases in which the plaintiff has good evidence with respect to damages, I think filing a motion for summary judgement may make sense. On the balance, however, I think it is useful for the jury to hear evidence of liability.

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