‘It’s like the Wild West out here,’ says pastor after 3 teens hurt in latest crash near church

TACOMA, Wash. — Three teenage passengers were hurt when the car they were in crashed into a utility pole early Friday.

According to Tacoma Police spokesperson Wendy Haddow, at around 2:30 a.m., a car was heading east on South 56th Street when it hit a pole, rolled over, and came to rest on its roof in a parking lot near South Warner Street.

Police are still looking for the driver after they left the scene.

Two 18-year-olds and a 15-year-old were hurt. The older teens are OK but the 15-year-old has serious injuries.

For a pastor of a nearby Baptist church, incidents like this have become all too common. In the 27 years Pastor Larry Jones has been at New Salem Baptist Church, the collisions haven’t stopped.

His church is on South 56th Street in Tacoma, a road known for its drivers going too fast.

“Just way too fast,” Pastor Jones told KIRO 7. “We say it’s more like the wild, wild west out here.”

This latest crash comes during a period known as the “100 deadliest days,” where teen crashes increase by 30 to 40% over the summer. That’s why New Salem has an outreach pastor, whose role is to connect with local kids to prevent incidents like this.

“We just have to get our babies here so they can get involved,” Pastor Jones said.

It is not yet known if the car that crashed — a Toyota Camry — was stolen.

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