Man identified after being flung off Ship Canal bridge by force of morning crash

SEATTLE — A man was found dead in the waters below the Ship Canal Bridge after he was flung off the bridge during a crash.

The two-car rollover crash just south of Northeast 45th Street in Seattle’s University District happened at about 4:40 a.m. Tuesday. It blocked all lanes of southbound Interstate 5 for 3 1/2 hours.

One of the drivers involved in the crash, later identified as 22-year-old Jordan Shelley, was missing after the accident.

“Based on witness reports, we soon found out that (the missing driver) had possibly fallen off the bridge and down into the water below the Ship Canal Bridge,” Seattle Fire Department spokesperson Kristen Tinsley said.

According to an investigation by the Washington State Patrol, a Mazda had broken down on the bridge when it was hit by a Toyota. When the Mazda was hit by the Toyota, the driver of the Mazda, Shelley, was propelled off the bridge and into the water. Shelley had been outside his car trying to get it started. The bridge is 182 feet tall.

Both cars came to rest on their roofs after the crash.

The driver of the Toyota, also a 22-year-old man, was arrested on suspicion of DUI, WSP Trooper Rick Johnson said.

Water rescue teams were sent to Fifth Avenue Northeast and Northeast Northlake Way near Ivar’s Salmon House to search the water.

Rescue swimmers and a diver searched around docks and under the bridge for Shelley for an hour. Afterward, Seattle Fire said the search had become a recovery mission because of the amount of time Shelley had spent in the water.

Seattle Police said Shelley’s body was found at around 9 a.m.

“He was going to do amazing things with this life. I don’t understand any of this. It doesn’t make sense,” says Jordan Shelley’s mother, Teresa following Tuesday’s crash.

Jordan Shelley’s mother, Teresa, said he was born in Ethiopia and grew up on Whidbey Island. He received a prestigious scholarship at Skagit Valley College covering two years of tuition at the University of Washington, where he was studying to become an anesthesiologist.

“I am heartbroken. Jordan was such a bright light and a shining personality. His energy was infectious. He inspired many of us at the college, including his fellow students, faculty, and staff. My thoughts and prayers are with Jordan’s family,” said Skagit Valley College president Dr. Tom Keegan.

Ms. Shelley said her son lived with purpose and always gave “150 percent” to whatever he was doing.

She said his Ethiopian name was Meloawl, which means, “What may I do for you?”

“If Jordan were here he’d forgive instantly. He would say ‘it’s OK,” said Teresa. “You (the driver) didn’t mean to. Instant forgiveness was the way he was.”