SEATTLE, Wash. - For the second time in less than 24 hours, a motorcyclist was killed after a crash on the Alaskan Way Viaduct.
About 2:50 p.m. Thursday, a man was going north on a 500 cc Aprilia motor scooter. Police said that as the rider, 52, approached South Jackson Street he hit the guard rail and was ejected.
“The Seattle Fire Department responded and determined that the driver died at the scene,” Detective Mark Jamieson said. “Seattle Police shut down the northbound lanes of the viaduct while detectives responded to process the scene and begin their investigation.”
The viaduct closure caused miles-long backups around Seattle. The northbound viaducts remained closed until shortly after 7 p.m.
It took drivers hours instead of minutes to get home. Janelle Monell was driving from Burien to Magnolia, “It’s terrible, I’ve been in the car a couple hours now.”
Devin Fields decided to park her car and just walk downtown, “I just didn’t want to drive anymore, it’s crazy.”
“It’s easy to be frustrated with the situation but the reality is somebody did lose their life. It’s tough, I can’t imagine what the family’s going through,” said driver David Nelson.
The accident happened in the northbound lanes just north of Railroad Avenue. That is the part of Highway 99 that was redone after part of the elevated structure was removed so they could start the tunnel project. It’s basically the ramp up to the old part of the viaduct. The speed limit is 25 through the winding climb, then when it straightens out it goes back up to 40 mph.
Mike Dempsey will be “Obviously the road change, with the tunnel, has changed things. Is it a road thing” I don’t know. Two in a row seems awful, “ said Mike Dempsey of West Seattle trying to get downtown to pick up his wife.
Traffic detectives plan to continue their investigation Friday. The driver has not been identified, pending family notification.
The earlier fatal crash happened about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. That man – identified by the King County Medical Examiner as 30-year-old Nathaniel Hammer – was going north on the Alaskan Way Viaduct. He lost control, hit the east guardrail and was ejected from the motorcycle.
“Speed may have been a factor in this collision,” Jamieson said of Hammer and his Triumph motorcycle. The incident was still being investigated.
Hammer died at the scene, and the northbound viaduct was closed along with First Avenue South, where Hammer landed, until early Thursday.