by David Gackenbach
Neighbors in the area of 17th Avenue South and South Walker Street on North Beacon Hill were awakened late Thursday night by the sudden sound of metal grinding on metal followed by the long honk of a car horn.
Not knowing if something had fallen out of the sky nearby, one neighbor at the top of the stairway looked around the house in the dark, saw nothing, and went back to bed.
It wasn’t till daylight that the point of impact and projectile were discovered. A dark green Ford Explorer took a wild ride down the Walker Street Stairs, from the cul-de-sac near 16th Avenue, down to 17th Avenue and across into the cul-de-sac above the stairway to 18th Avenue.
Along the way the SUV broke some railing, bottomed out at the midway landing, then annihilated the steel guardrail and neighborhood bulletin board at the bottom. The impact was enough to rip the guardrail out of the ground, break up the concrete sidewalk it was anchored into, and send a chunk of concrete clear across 17th Avenue to the east. The SUV bounced onto the planting strip, went up the sidewalk (missing parked cars) and stopped when it hit a neighbor’s tree.
Injuries to the driver appear to be minor, as she was seen being helped away by friends with a van, who also pushed the Explorer out of a driveway and to the side of the road. Whether the damaged SUV will be towed by the owner or the city as an abandoned vehicle remains to be seen.
Neighbors recalled that a similar incident happened about ten years ago, but the car was smaller.
(All photos by David Gackenbach.)
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