BURIEN, Wash. - The scene is jarring enough: An abandoned building in Burien, nearly demolished by a tour bus. But what KIRO 7 uncovered Monday evening might be even more startling.
On Sunday evening at about 8 p.m., Ambaum Boulevard at Southwest 136th Street was filled with lights, sirens and pieces of mangled metal. Investigators said that just moments before, a silver SUV had blown through a red light and smashed into a Snoqualmie Casino bus. The bus careened off the road, obliterating a building.
About one-third of the bus had exploded through the wall, nearly forcing the ceiling to collapse. The driver had just finished a run from the casino and was the only person on board. She was seriously injured and taken to the hospital.
About five minutes after the crash, a young Burien father rolled up to the scene and couldn't resist the commotion. He got out of his car with his cellphone camera rolling. He went over to the mangled SUV, saw the driver inside and checked on him.
"And I said, 'Dude, are you okay?'" remembers the man who does not want to be identified, "and this guy says, 'Yes, I'm OK.'"
The man said he heard other witnesses at the scene telling police that a woman and child had gotten out of the SUV and run away. It was unclear if they were hurt or why they ran.
Then, another witness pointed out something on the ground, and the man with the cellphone zoomed in. It was a beer can. He approached the SUV again. He said he saw more cans of beer inside the SUV and spoke to the driver again.
"I said, 'Dude do you know you are drunk?' And this guy is like, 'Do me a favor, hide the beers from here. Take it away from here.' And I said, 'Dude, it's too late.'"
The man could not believe that this driver who seemingly had caused so much damage had tried to convince a total stranger to help cover up for him.
The man with the cellphone gave KIRO 7 a copy of his video. The conversation between him and the suspect was in Spanish, and KIRO 7 translated it verbatim:
Man with cellphone: "You're drunk, man. Look at the beer."
Driver/suspect: "Oh, do me a favor, hide it."
Man with cellphone: “No deal.”
The suspect was taken to jail and will appear in court Tuesday.