EVERETT — A semi truck driver looking to buy a pack of cigarettes took a wrong turn down East Grand Avenue in the Riverside neighborhood in Everett — and pulled down three utility poles.
Residents described a loud bang, followed by sparking powerlines wrapped around the 53-foot trailer of the semi. One resident’s van had its side smashed and was missing a hubcap, while an inflatable ghost Halloween decoration was pulled along by the truck, the only casualty of the crash. Another car was also hit.
At least one home was without power, residents said. An internet line may also have been severed. The incident happened around noon Wednesday.
Residents said trucks and other vehicles frequent the route as a shortcut. Huddled outside watching the aftermath, they worried about a city proposal to build a bridge extending Everett Avenue over a bluff and railroad tracks and across the Snohomish River. The bridge would connect to a proposed public works campus expected to be relocated in preparation for light rail.
The bridge would bring increased traffic and noise to a neighborhood already awash in I-5 traffic noise.
Residents feel the Wednesday incident could be a harbinger of things to come.
“It’s gonna get worse if they build the bridge,” said Robert Jacoby, a neighbor.
Currently, the road has a 10-ton weight limit — which led the semi truck driver to try to turn around.
“So I made a wrong turn, I didn’t see any signs this way saying no trucks this way,” the trucker, Will Haynes, 45, said at the scene. “Then I got up this way and saw a sign about a weight limit, so I’ve got to find a place to turn around. By the time I saw that sign, there was no place to turn around.”
There is a curve in the road where Everett Avenue bends north to become East Grand. Haynes said he was rolling forward, deciding if he wanted to back the truck up around the curve. He said he was looking around, but not straight up, when he felt a jerk and heard a loud noise. The truck had hit the lines, taking down a string of poles with it.
“I felt it tighten up and when I felt that jerk, everything came apart,” Haynes said.
Hermann Brothers Logging & Construction, Inc. owns the truck and said it was “still investigating” the incident. The company had no further comment.
Two fire trucks responded around 1 p.m., residents said, and put up fire line tape across the street. There were no injuries, Everett Fire Department spokesperson Rachael Doniger said. The Everett Police Department had no further information on the incident.
Haynes felt bad. He has been driving trucks for about nine years, he said.
“This is the first time I ever had anything like this,” Haynes said. “This bothers me, the fact that I damaged some other people’s property, I hate that. I made a mistake and I’m extremely sorry for everything.”