SEATTLE — For drivers like Julie Evans Reid, seeing a speeding car explode into a hail of bolts and glass while burning hunks of mangled metal tumbled from West Emerson Place onto the Burke Gilman Trail, there was a natural assumption.
"Someone must have been killed," she said.
But as the smoke cleared from the wreckage, the driver got out of the seat -- which was on the pavement of the trail -- and walked away unhurt.
"It's impossible for anybody to have been outside that car, standing there on their own two feet," said witness Greg Reid, who stopped to record the event.
"Any possible attempt to describe that crash defies the attempt to describe it," said Reid. "It's indescribable."
One witness told Seattle police the driver of the red Mustang was traveling at 90 mph in a 35 mph zone at West Emerson Place and 19th Avenue West when he lost control, crossed over the oncoming traffic lane and slammed into a power pole.
Witnesses say the impact sheared the car into several burning pieces which tumbled down the Burke Gilman Trail, spraying shattered pieces everywhere.
Reid said the only part of the car which appeared intact was the driver's seat and the driver's side window next to it. The seat appeared to be ripped from the floor of the car.
"His window wasn't even broken on that car, yet the car was cut into pieces," Reid said.
In the blink of an eye, the speeding car somehow also missed colliding with oncoming traffic, and also missed hitting anyone on the busy trail.
Seattle police traffic investigators released the uninjured driver while they decide how to charge a man onlookers couldn't believe had survived. They say the car was a rental.
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