Windstorm causes problems for drivers across Western Washington

KIRKLAND, Wash. -- High winds knocked down trees and power lines across Western Washington Thursday, leading to several problems on the roads.

Marla Skaglund heard a tree come down, she just didn`t know where it had fallen.

“I heard a big crash, I thought there had been a wreck on the hill.”

But when she walked out to onto State Route 530 in Oso, she saw the tree on top of a tractor-trailer in the middle of the road.

“I could see the cab was totally smashed in.”

Troopers had to cut apart the truck just to get to the driver and get him out. He was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center with critical injuries.

“I feel really bad about the guy,” said Skaglund. ”It`s just one of nature`s things. With the wind blowing, down came the tree. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

He wasn`t the only driver surprised by the strength of Thursday's storm. The high winds also knocked down power lines on Richmond Beach Road in Shoreline.

“Unfortunately, a pickup truck that was traveling underneath picked up the power lines,” said Shoreline Fire Battalion Chief Michael Ryan. “We have two people who have been sitting there since the power lines came down.”

Those people were not injured, but emergency crews didn`t want to take any chances with the live wires. They shut down several roads in the area to both cars and people, while they waited for Seattle City Light to arrive and make repairs.

“Just pedestrians who are walking by could possibly get electrocuted, because of the differential in the power and in the ground and everything around it,” he said. “So these guys did the right thing, they stayed in the vehicle and just waited for 911 to show up.”

Power lines in Kirkland also came down during the storm. Holmes Point Drive will remain closed overnight, so crews can continue restoring power.