Neighbor said he heard a ‘huge noise, like an explosion’ as excavator crashed, killing father

KENT, Wash. — Kent police are looking for a suspect after a 29-year-old man was killed in a rollover crash involving a stolen excavator and stolen trailer on Saturday.

On Sunday, we talked to that man’s family.

His family told us he was the youngest brother. He also left behind a daughter, who’s just a year old.

On Saturday around 6:55 a.m., Kent officers were sent to the 12000 block of Southeast 236th Street after reports of a driver fleeing from a truck and trailer in a ditch, according to the Kent Police Department.

On the way to the crash, a Kent officer saw that truck pulling an excavator on a trailer on Southeast 234th Street. The truck was driving recklessly, said police.

“The boom arm on the truck was fully extended, causing it to hit a stop sign,” said KPD.

The officer didn’t chase the truck in compliance with state law but did see that the truck wasn’t able to maintain control of the swerving trailer.

Shortly after, the trailer and excavator rolled over and detached from the truck, said police.

“It’s a huge noise, like an explosion,” said Guri Gill, who lives nearby.

Another man could see the crash scene clearly from his doorstep.

“My wife woke me up and I looked out there and oh my god,” he said. “We went out there and saw the trailer messed up and there’s a person laying down there.”

The driver allegedly briefly got out but then got back in the truck and fled. The officers did not chase. The truck also slammed into another car while running from the wreckage.

While examining the crash, officers found a man who had apparently been on the trailer or excavator during the crash.

“The man, a 29-year-old Kent resident, had massive head and chest injuries,” said KPD.

Officers gave CPR and other medical aid. Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority Fire fighters and medics arrived and gave lifesaving measures. The man did not survive.

Officers then found a stolen gun on the man.

“Fifteen police cars that showed up here,” said Gill. “This whole area was chaos. The police lights everywhere. They blocked the whole area. I was really surprised to see that in the morning at 7 o’clock. Four or five hours they were here.”

Kent officers found the abandoned truck, that fled the scene, near 116th Avenue and Southeast 208th Street. They learned the truck had been stolen in Kent earlier Saturday morning, along with the trailer and excavator.

The people who live on Southeast 234th said they’ll never be able to look at that corner the same.

“Wake up and see a crash and a body laying down there, it’s pretty sad, especially for it being almost Christmas time here,” said a neighbor. “I wish I didn’t come out and see the body but clearly the body is right there. I got a clear view, I couldn’t help it.”

If you know who the driver is, reach out to Kent PD at KPDTipLine@kentwa.gov or call the non-emergency dispatch line 253-852-2121.