A Seattle man riding in a car that was driven by a suspected drunk driver was sent to the hospital with life-threatening injuries after an early morning collision on Interstate 5 on August 31st. Investigators suspect the 26-year-old driver of the 2003 Mercedes E320 rear-ended a bread truck with enough force to lift the truck off the road. The driver, who lives in Tukwila, lost control of the Mercedes, crossed lanes and hit the bread truck in its left rear side. The car was traveling up to 125 mph, so it apparently slid under the box truck, hit the heavy vehicle’s rear axle and lifted it in the air. The truck rolled over on its side and emergency crews took its driver, a 65-year-old Bellevue man, to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with face, head and neck injuries. The car’s front passenger, a 43-year-old Seattle man, suffered life-threatening head injuries and was also taken to Harborview. The Mercedes also had a rear-seat passenger, a 25-year-old Seattle man, who suffered leg, chest and neck injuries. The driver, though, only had minor injuries and was treated at Valley Medical Center in Renton. The State Patrol has arrested him for investigation of vehicular assault and driving under the influence of alcohol.
All three injured persons, as well as the company whose delivery truck and its cargo was damaged, should file claims against the drunk driver’s automobile insurance policy. If the negligent driver does not have sufficient coverage for the injured parties’ claims, then the claimants may file a claim with their automobile insurance policy of they have Underinsured (or Uninsured) Motorists’ coverage (typically referred to as “UIM” coverage).