Suburban plows into gas pump on SR 104

  • Brooke Fisher<br>Enterprise editor
  • Monday, March 3, 2008 6:48am

A 70-year-old driver struck a gas pump at a Chevron Station at the intersection of SR 104 and 19th Avenue — a finale after crashing into three vehicles earlier in the morning of May 12.

No injuries were incurred and the incident is under investigation.

According to a press release, Raymond Willey, a Bothell resident, was driving westbound on SR 104 at 10:30 a.m. when he struck the rear end of a Ford Crown Victoria.

Willey then ran into the left rear of a small white pickup truck and subsequently hit the left front of a full-size pickup truck exiting the Chevron Station on the corner of SR 104 and 19th Avenue.

Willey’s 1988 GMC Suburban then continued over the sidewalk and struck a gas pump, which landed about 25 feet away.

Sgt. Scott Beasley responded to the incident and said Willey was not trapped or unconscious after his vehicle struck the gas pump, but was disoriented. He said the Suburban caught fire and bystanders opened the door of Willey’s car so he could escape. No other drivers were injured and Willey was treated at the scene.

“He was dazed after going through all that,” Beasley said. “I don’t know if the car was on fire at that time or not; it did catch fire at some point.”

Beasley said gas pumps are designed with breakaway piping to help prevent gasoline spills, and a gas station employee also helped prevent a gas leak by shutting down the pumps.

“The attendant at the gas station was pretty quick to react,” Beasley said. “He hit the emergency shut-offs on the pumps, which kept gas from flowing all over the place.”

Beasley said officers are still unsure if Willey is liable for all the damage, and are investigating the possibility of a mechanical problem with the Suburban. He said one of the impacts disabled the steering of the Suburban. Witnesses also reported the throttle was racing, and Willey may have hit the gas instead of the break at some point.

Since the fire destroyed part of the engine, Beasley said it may be difficult to determine the exact cause of the incident.

Raza Awais, manager of Chevron Station, said he shut down the electric power when the gas pump was struck and then called 911. In his two years as manager of the station, he has never witnessed a gas pump being struck.

Willey will be sited for Negligent Driving in the Second Degree and fined $538, according to the press release.

Officer Mindi Mezek, with the Washington State Patrol, said officers have 10 days to investigate collisions. She said four troopers and one cadet responded to the scene, as well as members of the Shoreline Police Department.

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