Issaquah man faces charges in Metro Transit vanpool crash
January 18, 2011
By Warren Kagarise
Prosecutors charged a 27-year-old Issaquah emergency medical technician for smashing a pickup into a King County Metro Transit Rideshare van along Interstate 90 in September.
The early morning crash injured the vanpool passengers and snarled the commute near Issaquah for hours, as emergency crews cut trapped people from the crumpled van.
Douglas Burt Henderson faces a vehicular assault charge for the Sept. 24 incident.
Washington State Patrol investigators said Henderson had been traveling alone in the high-occupancy vehicle lane near Issaquah at the time of the crash.
The pickup rear-ended the Metro Transit van, a Chevrolet Uplander, in the HOV lane at about 5:35 a.m. The van had been traveling at about 60 mph — the posted speed limit on the interstate near West Lake Sammamish Parkway Southeast — at the time of the incident, court documents state.
The force from the crash propelled the van across three travel lanes and off of the right road shoulder. The van then rolled and came to rest in brush alongside the interstate.
The rollover left three of the seven occupants pinned inside and partially beneath the vehicle. The occupants trapped inside suffered significant injuries, including head injuries and fractured vertebrae.
The crash caused a milelong backup on the eastbound interstate and a three-mile backup in the westbound lanes.
Troopers contacted Henderson as he sat in the pickup. He had the “odor of intoxicants” and then admitted to consuming alcohol in the hours before the crash, court documents state.
Henderson agreed to perform field sobriety tests, but he performed poorly, the documents continue. Investigators said the results of a blood draw conducted at Overlake Hospital Medical Center in Bellevue not long after the accident showed Henderson’s blood-alcohol content to be 0.23 percent, nearly three time the legal limit of 0.08 percent.
Police later booked Henderson into the King County Jail for vehicular assault and driving under the influence. Authorities released him from jail Sept. 28.
Senior Deputy Prosecutor Amy Freedheim has requested for Henderson to be re-arrested and held in lieu of $25,000 bail. Prosecutors said he should be prohibited from entering liquor stores and be required to use ignition-interlock devices.
Henderson has no felony history. Investigators listed his occupation as a technician for a private ambulance company in court documents.
Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.