A pedestrian was killed and a bicyclist was dragged under a pickup in two separate crashes Wednesday about three blocks a part on Clearwater Avenue in Kennewick.
The 60-year-old Kennewick man who died had just gotten off a Ben Franklin Transit bus and was walking through a parking lot toward the Winco grocery when he was hit at 10:14 a.m., witnesses said.
About 15 minutes later, a 54-year-old woman on a bike was hit and trapped under a truck, but Kennewick police credit the fast actions by witnesses for averting a possible second fatality. Employees from an auto body shop ran out with a jack and lifted the truck off the bicyclist until emergency workers could get there.
“Whoever jacked that truck up probably saved her because she was pinned under there with that engine,” said police Cmdr. Scott Child. “ Whoever got the heads up to get the jack up, did a great job.”
The bicyclist, Deborah K. Fox, was listed in critical condition Wednesday night at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
The victim in the first wreck died at the scene after he was hit in the Big Smoke shop parking lot by an 84-year-old Pasco man who told police his truck’s accelerator stuck, said Mike Blatman, Kennewick Police Department spokesman.
Names of the victim and driver in the fatal wreck were not released Wednesday by Kennewick police.
The driver of the white Ford truck had driven west through the intersection of Clearwater Avenue and Union Street at a high speed and onto the sidewalk on the north side of the street, Blatman said. Witnesses estimated he was driving 50 to 60 mph.
He hit a parked Cadillac in the parking lot at 4434 W. Clearwater Ave., then hit the pedestrian, Blatman said. The pedestrian was carried on the truck through the parking lot in front of Big Smoke and landed in the crosswalk of North Volland Street, a main entrance to Winco from Clearwater Avenue.
Shawn Dean of Richland told the Herald he was walking through the parking lot of Big Smoke when he saw the victim get off the bus and start walking toward Winco.
Dean had just gotten off his phone when he heard an engine revving and a crash.
“I jumped out of the way,” Dean said. “The truck was going right by me within a foot of me, hit him right in the middle of the truck.”
The other man didn’t appear to have heard the pickup, Dean said.
The truck then hit some large landscaping rocks and crossed some grass onto North Volland Street before swerving down Clearwater Avenue, Dean said. The pickup stopped about 100 feet from the entrance to Winco. The front end was smashed, a front tire was flat and a rear tire was off its axle.
Because of the driver’s age, he was not able of take a field sobriety test, but he agreed to give a blood sample, Blatman said. He cooperated with the investigation and was taken to Kennewick General Hospital to be checked, Blatman said.
As investigators were working at that scene, a bicyclist was hit just down the street at 10:30 a.m.
Cayiah L. Ramble, 32, of Kennewick, pulled out of the parking lot of V & H Market at 4100 W. Clearwater Ave. and turned right to go east on Clearwater when she hit Fox on her bicycle, said Kennewick police and the Washington State Patrol.
Fox was riding west against traffic on the road’s eastbound shoulder, law enforcement officials said.
Ramble, driving a 1998 Ford F150 pickup, had pulled into the parking lot to make a U-turn, officials said. Police didn’t know if she turned around because of the traffic backup from the crash scene down the road.
Ramble said she was looking the other direction for oncoming traffic when she pulled out and didn’t see Fox coming. Fox and her bicycle were pinned under the truck and dragged about 270 feet, troopers said.
The truck stopped in front of Clearwater Collision & Towing, 4023 W. Clearwater Ave., where owner Timothy Dean had been sitting in his office until he heard a commotion.
“One of the employees was in the front lobby taking a break. And the secretary was here in the front lobby. And I heard the employee jump up. He said, ‘Stop the car! Stop the car!’ And then I heard the secretary scream,” Dean said.
“Everybody was running out the front door waving their hands” to stop the truck, he said.
A delivery person also stopped and banged on the truck’s window while Dean pounded on the side of the truck to get Ramble’s attention, he said.
Employees used a floor jack to lift the truck off Fox and brought out a blanket to cover her. Dean said he talked to Fox, comforting her until Kennewick police and fire personnel arrived. Employees from Les Schwab tire center also ran across the street to help.
“It was just one of those things where you go into kind-of-like rescue mode because you can’t believe that someone’s been hit,” Dean said.
Fox was taken to Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland and later flown to Harborview.
Dean said other crashes have happened near his business in the past. But Wednesday’s wreck was “just pretty traumatic for everybody,” he said.
Washington State Patrol troopers took the lead on the second wreck investigation, and Benton County sheriff’s deputies also helped at the two collision scenes. Sheriff’s deputies also helped respond to other Kennewick police calls in the city.
-- Reporter Sara Schilling and photographer Paul T. Erickson contributed to this story.-- Annette Cary: 582-1533; firstname.lastname@example.org