Washington State Patrol detectives are seeking the driver of a truck that struck a Puyallup Tribe police lieutenant Tuesday in Tacoma, then fled the scene.
The crash happened at 11:36 p.m. Tuesday night on southbound Interstate 5 at the exit for state Route 16, State Patrol Detective Jim Meldrum said Thursday.
The Puyallup tribal officer was driving home after his shift and was merging onto I-5 proper from the collector-distributor lanes from Interstate 705.
The driver of the pickup saw an opening in the “candlesticks” that divide I-5 from the collector-distributor lanes and tried to cut through to make the exit for SR 16, Meldrum said.
The Puyallup tribal officer had nowhere to go and T-boned the side of the truck.
The officer was knocked unconscious by the force of the crash, Meldrum said, though he was alert when medics arrived to take him to Tacoma General Hospital. The officer suffered a severe concussion and whiplash and lost feeling on one side of his body for a time.
“The crash was so violent that the camera broke off the windshield,” Meldrum said.
The truck drove off on SR 16 despite having significant damage on the passenger side. It appears to be a late 1990s Chevrolet or GMC extended-cab, short-box truck with dark paint and aftermarket wheels, and it had a load of lumber in the bed.
“The truck in question is pretty clear in the video,” Meldrum said. “It’s got a lot of damage. There’s no way that it’s going to be an everyday truck after this crash.”
Troopers are investigating the crash as a felony hit-and-run.
Anyone with information in regards to the crash is asked to contact Meldrum at 253-538-3174.