Five people were injured when an out-of-control dump truck careened down a steep Pioneer Square street Monday morning, hitting a pedestrian and other vehicles before crashing into a Subway sandwich shop at First Avenue and Yesler Way.
The truck “allegedly suffered a catastrophic mechanical failure,” according to Seattle police. It came to rest completely inside the Subway, having shattered the front window of the store.
Four people were taken to Harborview Medical Center. As of midday Monday, a 25-year-old woman who had been driving a commercial van that was hit by the dump truck was in serious condition, fire officials and hospital spokeswoman Barbara Clements said. Also taken to the hospital were a 33-year-old male pedestrian who was hit at Second Avenue and James Street, a 51-year-old male pedestrian who was on the sidewalk in front of the Subway, and a 44-year-old man who had been inside the Subway restaurant, fire officials said. The three men were in stable condition, according to the fire department.
Police and fire officials said the driver of the Barrett Services dump truck suffered minor injuries and was interviewed by police.
Bruce Burns, 58, was in his residence inside the building when the crash happened, shortly before 9:45 a.m. He didn’t see it, but heard and felt it, and said he could smell what he described as the truck’s burned-out brakes.
“I looked out my window and I could see the air bags had deployed on a couple vehicles,” Burns said. “It was carnage down there.”
The building was evacuated, including the residential and commercial sections, and a structural assessment is underway, Burns said. The damage could have been much worse, by his estimation.
“[The truck] missed the two support beams on either side of the Subway. If he would’ve hit one of those beams, who knows,” Burns said.
A witness, Kyle Lewis, 24, said the dump truck came flying down James and appeared to have lost its brakes. The truck hit the 33-year-old pedestrian at Second and James and three cars in the 100 block of James before slamming into the front of the Subway, police said.
Lewis said the woman in the van had to be cut out of the vehicle, but she was conscious and talking to bystanders.
“I was walking out to my truck right here and that could’ve happened to me. Luckily it didn’t,” Lewis said.
Jon Jennings, 23, was working on a job site about four blocks away when he heard the truck “screeching.”
“I looked down the way and all you see [is] the dump truck barreling through,” he said. “You could see the smoke rolling off the tires like (the driver) had her brakes locked up … You heard the glass break and everything, so we all came down here.”
Jennings said the driver was “bleeding a little” but she was able to walk.
Justin Kaiser, who works in Smith Tower, was headed to get coffee when he saw the dump truck. He estimated it might have been traveling at 40 to 45 mph, “definitely going much, much faster than any other traffic would go through” the intersection at Second and James.
“It just barreled through the intersection, striking the pedestrian who appeared to be in the crosswalk,” he said.
Fire officials urged drivers to find alternate routes, and police said they expected the area to be closed throughout the afternoon.
Seattle Times reporter Mike Carter contributed to this report.
Note: This story was updated Monday evening with new information from officials about the people who were injured and their locations when they were struck.