Courtesy Photo

Courtesy Photo

Drunk driving accident sends seven to hospital

The driver of a sedan rear-ended a van packed with juveniles, sending it colliding into a pole.

A drunk driving accident at the corner of Vashon Highway and Cemetery Road on Halloween night sent seven people to the hospital and resulted in one arrest.

King County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Sgt. Ryan Abbott said that the accident occurred at 10:55 p.m. after the 56-year-old male driver of a silver sedan rear-ended a van that then lost control and collided with a telephone pole. The airbags in the silver car deployed but the driver refused medical attention when deputies first arrived on the scene.

Nine juveniles in total were riding in the van at the time of the crash. Seven were taken to Harborview Medical Center before both vehicles were towed. Deputies said that only the driver and front passenger seat of the vehicle had lap belts. There were no other seats in the rear of the van.

The driver of the silver sedan was intoxicated and arrested. He has not yet been charged.

Vashon Island Fire & Rescue Chief Charlie Krimmert said that upon arrival, he saw debris in the intersection with one car parked at the corner next to Minglement in addition to the van that collided with the pole.

The accident was declared a multiple casualty incident, meaning there were more patients than the department could initially provide care for. Medics deemed one of the juvenile’s injuries serious enough that there was a risk to life.

“From there, it was a bit chaotic,” Krimmert said. “Nine patients [at one time] is unusual for us but we were able to address their injuries and do preventative packaging.”

Mike Dumovich, a musician who launched a free, community-supported ride service to keep impaired drivers off of island roads earlier this year, said that he drove past the accident after it occurred.

“It broke my heart,” he said.

On weekends, Dumovich cruises into the island’s busiest establishments and checks with staff who advise him if someone needs a safe way home. Since launching the service, he said, he has been able to dissuade at least 30 motorists from getting behind the wheel.

Dumovich said that blaming Vashon’s bartenders for serving patrons is a misdirected response to the preventable outcome of a poor individual decision. Staff at the island’s busiest spots that serve alcohol, he said, regularly demonstrate the correct judgment to know if or when it is time to stop serving someone, adding that surging crowds and weekend bar hoppers made it difficult to tell when to cut someone off.

“The bartenders work with me to keep people safe. Every one of them is so professional and support the service, and that’s unique. You don’t see that in Seattle or anywhere,” Dumovich said.

The island’s bars and restaurants display posters detailing his service and make nominal donations to help pay his costs, including his ferry transportation back and forth to the island. Tips and gas money from riders are welcome.

Dumovich is available Thursday through Saturday nights by calling 206-455-1392, though he will reduce his hours to every other Thursday during the winter to spend time with his family. He is also offering to bring people back to their cars on Saturday mornings where they were left parked the night before.

“The burden just can’t be on bartenders — it’s got to take everybody. And it’s got to be on people who think they’re fine [to drive],” he said.

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