A tragic incident unfolded early Thursday morning when a 57-year-old semi-truck driver was struck and killed by two teenage suspects fleeing from the Lakewood Police Department (LPD) in Washington state. The LPD had attempted to stop the suspects’ vehicle, which was believed to be involved in a burglary in Tacoma. The ensuing high-speed chase ended in a devastating collision with the semi-truck, resulting in the driver’s death. The two 16-year-old suspects were taken into custody, and investigations are underway to determine their involvement in other crimes.
According to the LPD, officers made contact with the suspects’ vehicle around 5:30 a.m. on Thursday, following a suspected burglary in Tacoma. When the officers tried to pull over the robbers in a traffic stop, the suspects fled at a high rate of speed. Tragically, within seconds of the pursuit, the suspect vehicle crashed into a semi-truck. The impact caused the semi-truck driver to be ejected from the vehicle and land on the Interstate 5 freeway below the overpass. Despite life-saving efforts by first responders, the driver was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Both teenage suspects, who sustained non-life-threatening injuries, were extracted from the vehicle and transported to separate local hospitals. The crash also resulted in a fuel spill, which was promptly managed by firefighters at the scene. The crash occurred near Joint Base Lewis-McChord, leading to the closure of the Madigan Gate, a primary access point for the facility.
The two teenage suspects are believed to be connected to a convenience store robbery in Tacoma. During the robbery, the suspects allegedly fired shots at both the cashier and a customer, but the gun misfired on both occasions. Assistant Police Chief John Unfred revealed that investigators are also looking into another robbery in King County that matches the description of the suspects’ vehicle. The LPD spokesperson confirmed that the suspects’ vehicle was a stolen KIA.
Unfred expressed concern over the rising trend of juvenile suspects involved in robberies and vehicle thefts in Lakewood. He emphasized the tragic consequences of such crimes, as innocent lives are put at risk. Unfred urged the community to report any suspicious activity to the police, emphasizing the need to prevent further tragedies.
Following the fatal crash, all lanes of southbound Interstate 5 were reopened. However, the removal of the semi-truck posed a complicated task for authorities. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) Tacoma advised the public to expect an extended incident due to the ongoing police investigation.