The driver of this Camaro was critically injured in a head-on accident on Interurban Avenue South in Tukwila on Tuesday afternoon. It was the second serious injury accident in the city in as many days. COURTESY PHOTO, Tukwila Police

Tukwila Police ask for public’s patience near accident scenes

The Tukwila Police Department reminds drivers to be patient when they come across emergency personnel responding to accidents.

The department posted the reminder on its Facebook page, following two serious injury accidents in the city earlier this week.

“As we are working both of these scenes, we have had people honking, yelling, getting out of their cars, dangerously not paying attention while trying to take photos/videos while driving by and calling the station to complain about the road closures while our station personnel are trying to provide us with assistance,” according to the Facebook post. “All of this while we are working alongside firefighters and medics and are all trying to help multiple individuals who are fighting for their lives.”

The first accident happened around 12:45 p.m. on Monday at the intersection of West Valley Highway and Strander Boulevard when a pickup truck ran a red light and struck another vehicle, according to Tukwila Police spokesman Victor Masters.

The driver of the second vehicle was extracted by Tukwila firefighters and taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with critical injuries. The driver of the pickup had minor injuries. As of Wednesday afternoon, the accident remains under investigation, Masters said.

The second accident occurred at about 3:45 p.m. on Tuesday just north of Fort Dent on Interurban Avenue South.

“According to witnesses, a driver going southbound in a silver Camaro had attempted to pass the car in front of him by swerving into oncoming traffic,” Masters said in an email. “In doing so, he struck another driver that was heading northbound head-on at what witnesses described as being around 50 to 60 mph.”

The driver of the Camaro was taken to Harborview Medical Center, and as of Wednesday, was in critical but stable condition. The driver of the second vehicle was injured but not as severely.

The accident is under investigation and driving under the influence is suspected, Masters said.

The Facebook post further explains why it is sometimes necessary to close roads during serious accidents.

“Accidents of this nature are basically crime scenes. We need to reconstruct the scene, determine what has happened, what caused the accident, interview witnesses and do everything we can to make sure it gets done right so that the families of those involved can understand what happened,” the post says. “Imagine those fighting for their lives as your family or friends and not a stranger in a vehicle that is causing you to be late wherever you are going.

We also have to protect ourselves, firefighters, EMTs (emergency medical technicians) and medics who are all working the scene together. This is why you will often see the roads blocked for distances much further out than the immediate collision scene and also because collisions many times can span over 100 yards for particularly bad ones.

“We ask that you give all of us working these collision scenes no matter where you are your patience, and understand that we are doing everything we can to do the job right and to the best of our abilities in the most timely manner possible.”

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