SEATTLE — Crash after crash — the video shows cars wiping out one after another on an exit ramp from Interstate 5 southbound to Union Street in downtown Seattle.
The video is going viral on Reddit, and KIRO7 tracked down the original owner of the clips to get his take on the problem at that intersection.
“I had two friends who texted me and they said, ‘you’re famous!’ And I said, ‘what do you mean I’m famous?’ And they said, ‘you’re on Reddit! I said what’s that?’” said Michael Basconcillo. He has been taking videos of crashes at the intersection near Union Street and 7th Avenue for four years, but made a compilation video about five months ago.
Basconcillo says most cars that crash seem to be speeding out of the tunnel and fail to navigate the curve, slam into the wall, then go spinning out every which way.
‼️ Crash magnet! This is the I-5 SB Union St exit to downtown Seattle. Tunnel curves & pops you out to an intersection.— Deedee Sun (@DeedeeKIRO7) May 6, 2022
Michael Basconcillo's video of 17 crashes over several years is now going viral on Reddit!
(Btw poster sped it up 1.5x there, this is the original). (1/2) pic.twitter.com/tk9cQc2QeY
The video compilation he made captures 17 crashes, though he sent KIRO7 two additional crashes that didn’t make it into the clip.
One of those clips shows a white SUV careening out of the tunnel, taking out bushes, screeching down a sidewalk, then through a crosswalk intersection. Luckily, the street was empty at the time.
“If someone was standing there, they wouldn’t have survived,” Basconcillo said. “It’s a problem.”
In another video, Basconcillo was riding a Segway on the sidewalk, when a white Tesla crashes at the tunnel exit and nearly hits him.
“It missed me by two or three seconds,” Basconcillo said. “The Tesla bounced off the wall,” he said.
KIRO 7 actually first spoke with Basconcillo about this problem three years ago in 2019, shortly after he installed a security camera and started taking the videos.
After that story, WSDOT — which manages this off-ramp tunnel — says crews did analyze the situation and added more speed limit signs, signs warning about the upcoming stoplight, and signage warning about the curve in the tunnel. The plan was decided in 2020 and implemented in January 2021.
But Basconcillo’s camera has captured three more crashes since the new signage. He says something physical on the road — like rumble strips — might be more helpful.
“They’ve improved it, but it’s still signage. If they put the divots in the road I think that would make a big difference. It would wake you up, tell you to slow down,” he said.
WSDOT manages the road that’s considered the exit ramp — basically the road inside the tunnel. The city of Seattle, or SDOT, manages the street outside the tunnel.
After KIRO7 sent both organizations the latest crash videos, WSDOT and SDOT sent a joint statement detailing the past signage changes, and said engineers would be examining the situation for other possible improvements.
“Safety is always our top priority, so we’re planning to continue to work together to monitor this area and consider other potential safety enhancements,” WSDOT and SDOT said in a statement.
Basconcillo said none of the crashes captured in his videos were fatal. However, he said before he started recording videos four years ago, he recalled two deadly incidents at the I-5 SB and Union Street exit.
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