LYNNWOOD — A Lynnwood officer saw a “city block of destruction” as he arrived to the scene of a series of crashes Wednesday morning that sent two people to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with serious injuries, and several others to nearby hospitals.
“Numerous vehicles were significantly damaged, trees were down, and several people were being evaluated by aid. Furthermore, the street was littered with debris,” the officer wrote.
Witnesses pointed police to a GMC Yukon Denali SUV, nose down in a ditch and airbags deployed, as the vehicle responsible for the series of collisions in the 3000 block of 196th Street SW. The driver was sitting on a curb with blood on his hands, legs and face. He claimed he didn’t know what happened, just that he was driving and that he remembered going to the bank. He had two small girls with him in the vehicle. Both appeared uninjured.
Police initially had been dispatched to Heritage Bank around 9 a.m. for reports of a man “trying to aggressively open the banks doors,” which were locked, according to court papers. Witnesses reported the man then used his hands to mimic a shooting motion before getting into a GMC along with two children. Officers reported they first were treating the call as a welfare check on the man and the kids.
Minutes later, a 911 caller reported that a GMC had crashed into several vehicles. A witness reported she saw the suspect driving aggressively and rear-end another vehicle, pushing it down the roadway. She guessed the GMC was going 80 mph in a 35 mph zone. An OnStar employee reported the GMC’s sensors indicated it was in a high-speed crash.
The suspect, 39, from Lynnwood, told police he’s been diagnosed with depression and bipolar disorder. He usually takes anti-psychotic medications, which police noted can affect a person’s ability to drive. The suspect also reported he uses marijuana, and later reportedly admitted to taking a few drags from a vape pen. Throughout his conversation with police, he had to be reminded that he was in a crash and that his children were OK, according to court papers.
Police ran him through a set of field sobriety tests. He appeared to have some trouble keeping track of time and balancing on one leg. He was transported to Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, where police got a judge’s permission to take a blood sample for testing. An officer, who identified himself as a drug recognition expert, wrote that he believed the suspect was under the influence of something other than alcohol.
The suspect reported he has manic episodes about once a year, according to court papers. An officer wrote that the suspect “needs immediate and significant mental health treatment.”
He was booked into the Snohomish County Jail for investigation of vehicular assault.