SEATTLE (AP) — A state trooper took the hit from a wrong-way driver on a Seattle highway in an attempt to stop him and prevent injury to others, the Washington State Patrol said.
Trooper Andrew Boyer was dispatched to a report of a driver going west in the eastbound lanes of Highway 520, said patrol spokeswoman Trooper Julie Judson.
The wrong-way driver was initially reported by a construction worker and had caused a collision between two other cars that crashed while avoiding him.
Boyer had his lights and siren on when he saw the oncoming car just before midnight Monday as a taxicab pulled out of Boyer’s way. It left him boxed in. Boyer knew he was going to be in a collision and took the path he hoped would minimize damage and stop the car.
“He knew he wasn’t going to get out of that situation without hitting something,” Judson said. “So he decided to make the best of it and potentially disable the wrong-way driver and avoid someone having a fatal collision farther down the road.”
Boyer, 27, who works out of the Bellevue WSP office, was jarred but not injured, although he may be sore for a few days, Judson said.
The crash disabled the patrol car with a broken axle. The wrong-way car was able to drive away. It continued to Interstate 5, still going the wrong direction before it broke down.
The driver got out and tried to run away by jumping over a barrier. He fell about 20 feet, was arrested by Seattle police and taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with injuries from the crash and fall, Judson said.
The 26-year-old Seattle man apparently was under the influence of alcohol and will face drunken-driving and other charges, Judson said.
From the distance he had driven across the floating bridge, he apparently was unaware he was going the wrong way, Judson said. There were a lot of 911 calls from other drivers who nearly collided with him.
“It didn’t seem to faze him,” she said. “Very dangerous.”