A 45-year-old man was killed and seven other people were injured Thursday afternoon when a car went across a median near Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and hit a hotel shuttle bus, causing the bus to flip onto its side, officials said.
Authorities were investigating what caused the crash, which was reported about 1 p.m. on International Boulevard just north of South 176th Street, said Sgt. Cynthia Sampson of the King County Sheriff’s Office. Officials think the shuttle bus from the Seattle Airport Marriott was heading north and the car was heading south when it crossed the centerline.
The 14 passenger seats and driver’s seat had seat belts, but it’s not clear if they were being used, Sampson said.
Two of the injured were transported to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. A 50-year-old man was in serious condition in the hospital’s intensive-care unit Thursday night, said hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg. A 62-year-old man was treated and released.
Two other injured people, including the driver of the car, were taken to Highline Medical Center in Burien. They were treated and released by Thursday night, according to a CHI Franciscan spokesman.
Two others were taken to Valley Medical Center in Renton, which did not provide information on the patients. One person who was injured refused treatment, Sampson said.
No further information was immediately available about the man who died. He was at least partially ejected from the bus, Sampson said, and his body was removed from under the rear passenger side shortly before 4 p.m. The bus, which had a smashed windshield and missing side windows, was righted a short time later.
Jay Bielza, a Park N’ Fly driver, was on his way back from the airport with a passenger when his shuttle bus got stuck at South 182nd Street due to the crash a few blocks to the north, near his workplace.
Bielza immediately got on the phone and repeatedly tried to call his mother, Oliva Pascua.
He explained Pascua, a janitorial worker at the airport, lives near the Seattle Airport Marriott and regularly rides the hotel’s shuttle bus to work.
His mother finally answered her phone and Bielza, 42, was able to get to the crash scene and see her before she was taken to the hospital by medics. She suffered a head injury and hurt her pinky finger, Bielza said.
“Right now I’m nervous, I’m scared. Hopefully my mom doesn’t have any fractures,” he said. “At the time, you know, my heart is beating, especially when I can’t call my mom … Hopefully she is OK and she can recover.”
A total of eight people, including the driver, were believed to have been on the shuttle at the time of the crash, Sampson said. The driver was the only person in the car.
“Our team is deeply saddened by the accident. We’re keeping all those involved in our thoughts and prayers,” said Bob Schrader, general manager of the Seattle Airport Marriott. He directed other questions to police investigating the incident.
Officials from U.S. Customs and Border Patrol as well as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were among the first on scene and helped provide first aid, Sampson said.
All lanes of International Boulevard reopened Thursday evening.
Seattle Times reporters Michelle Baruchman and Asia Fields contributed to this report.