SEATTLE - A stolen van careened off I-5 early Sunday morning near Boeing Field, running 50 feet down an embankment and crashing into a tree, according to Washington State Patrol.
Two lanes of traffic were shut down for hours while state troopers and firefighters searched for people who may have been inside.
Investigators said drivers called 911 reporting the van driving erratically.
It was a frightening scene for drivers who told dispatchers the van was swerving from lane to lane before crashing down the embankment.
"We see it far too often out here, people make poor decisions and tragedy finds its way to the roadway," Sgt. James Maguire said.
Mangled metal, shattered glass and somehow a tragedy avoided on southbound I-5 nearing Boeing Field on Sunday morning.
Maguire said drivers started calling 911 before 7 a.m. reporting a Ford Econoline van straddling the two left lanes before veering over to the right lane, bypassing a guardrail, crashing down the embankment and slamming into a tree.
Seattle firefighters rappelled down to the van searching for anyone who may have been inside.
"They sent their units down there to make sure that the driver hadn't been ejected. Any time we have a rollover crash like this, we always worry that someone got thrown from the vehicle. They were unable to find the driver. They searched with heat signatures. Didn't find any," Maguire told FOX 13 News.
The right two lanes of southbound I-5 were shut down while investigators tried to get a better understanding of what happened.
"We rely heavily on people to call 911 to report erratic driving behaviors. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get here in time," Maguire said.
Maguire said the van is apparently stolen.
Seeing the damage up close showed just how intense the crash must have been.
For those working this scene, there's a sense of relief no other drivers were involved.
"While it's still under investigation, at this point it does appear that everybody's going to be OK. That's what we're hoping for," Maguire said.
Police credit the drivers for calling in to 911.
They said any time someone sees something suspicious or dangerous, they should call it in because it could save a life.
While investigators have not been able to find any driver or passengers who may have been in the van, anyone with information is asked to call Washington State Patrol.