At approximately 12:40 PM on Tuesday, June 24, Seattle Police and Fire staff responded to a motor vehicle accident (MVA) call at 12th Avenue NE and NE 65th Street, next to the Roosevelt Light Rail Station construction site.
What was unusual for this particular MVA was the large number of police vehicles near the collision site (at least nine, by our quick count). Turns out that this incident was a hit-and-run by a stolen vehicle, Seattle Police told us via twitter. A witness to the incident said that after the collision, the suspect fled south.
— Oralea White (@OraleaW) June 24, 2014
South of the collision area, on the east side of 12th Avenue NE (pictured above) medics were treating an adult male while officers looked on.
We’ll post more details below when we get them.
UPDATE (1:49 PM): We have confirmation by the SPD that the “suspect was detained by Seattle residents while officers arrived.”
UPDATE (Wednesday morning): Q13FOX had a story on the incident during their 11 PM newscast. You can read the summary and/or watch the video here.
UPDATE (Thursday morning): On the afternoon of the incident, we reached out on twitter on the off chance of contacting someone involved in the subduing of the suspect after he fled the stolen vehicle. A man named Shawn (last name withheld by request) replied, not only with his narrative of the events but a very thoughtful setting of his role that afternoon.
We have yet to see an official narrative of the incident from the Seattle Police Department, but the description of the event that Shawn has shared with us matches what other witnesses at the scene observed.
Here is the account, in Shawn’s words, from two separate emails received on Wednesday:
If you’d just like my recollection of events, I was overlooking the intersection there, on the NE corner of 2nd level of the Whole Foods shopping plaza. I was on break from work at the time, when I heard a loud screech followed by a massive crunch of metal.
I hurried down the stairs located on the NE corner there and looked over to my left to see a car pretty much flipped into incoming traffic. I began running toward the car to check on the victims when I realized that people were yelling STOP HIM at someone.
I looked over across the street and saw a young guy in a red T shirt and baggy jeans running down the opposite sidewalk. I shouted, Hey you, stop, and he didn’t acknowledge me or the other people shouting similar things.
It was at that point I shouted at him again, Hey, you, stop right now, and started chasing after him. I ran across the street and onto the opposite curb; he wasnt a great runner and I caught up to him near the SE corner of the Whole Foods on the opposite side of the street. He actually tripped himself up mostly, and kind of ditched it into the bushes there along with his bag… I slid him off the bush and onto the ground and tried to get control of his arms.
At that point the level of rational thought I had put into this move was literally zero, and it was about then that he started getting really squirrelly with his left arm, trying to pull it away and use it as leverage or reach for something. He actually did pull it completely out of my grasp at one point and it was all I could do to keep it pinned underneath him, afraid what he might try to pull out.
Fortunately that was the moment that the driver and another Good Samaritan ran up and helped get better control over him; I kept shouting at onlookers to call the cops not sure if any of them actually had or not. I was very concerned about the well-being of the driver, who probably should not have been running after this guy after such a serious crash; he was being treated after I finished giving the cops a statement and I was glad to hear he ended up being pretty much ok.
It only took about 5 minutes or so for the cops to show up, by which time we were all wrapped up pretty good with the guy, who was resisting and shouting the whole time. The cops knew who to go for right away (a small relief) and they pulled us apart and took him into custody.
That was about the point I realized I was probably going to be late back into work, and asked the cop after giving my contact info if he could write me a note for my supervisor. He gave me his card, and said just give them this, if they have any problems at all, call me.
That was pretty much it. Tbh I didn’t think about it at all, if I had, I probably would have done nothing. But I was worried he might try to carjack someone or worse and it just kind of happened. :3
I didn’t even realize it was a stolen car at the time, I just saw him running from an accident that he caused and no one moving in the victims car.
[...]and I just don’t really want any undue attention for such a minor incident.
Ultimately, the only thing I’ve really taken away from this and other similar events is that sometimes we are at the right time and the right place, in life, to affect change or do the right thing. And in those rare moments, it’s better to go with your gut reaction and act rather than forever wonder ‘what if’. Being trapped in a box alone with that question can be a deadly curse.
I would just add that we each have far more power than we think, and I truly believe we are all responsible for making the world we live in into the world we’d imagine for ourselves and our loved ones.
On Tuesday afternoon, one man was booked into King County Jail for vehicle theft. We are watching for more documentation on the case (in King County District Court) and will continue to add updates here.