Three hurt in attempt to ‘catch air’

PORT ANGELES — Police are investigating a “stunt … that went tragically wrong” after a crash in a residential neighborhood in Port Angeles sent three teens to hospitals.

Deputy Chief Jason Viada said the teens were attempting to “catch air” in their vehicle by driving at high speeds down the hill on Sixth Street between D and B streets.

They hoped to send the car flying into the air.

Viada said he would like to see the community have conversations about safe driving “so we don’t have to talk about this in the future.”

Monday evening wreck

At about 7 p.m. Monday, officers and firefighters arrived at a wreck on Sixth Street between B and C streets involving a juvenile driver, two juvenile passengers and an 18-year-old passenger.

Viada said he could not release the names of the juveniles and would not release the name of the adult.

The driver was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center, the adult passenger was transported to Harborview by ambulance and another juvenile passenger was admitted to Olympic Medical Center.

Hospitals will not release conditions of patients without their names.

One passenger was not injured.

Viada said that “preliminary information” is that the teens attempted the jump twice. The first attempt involved nearly hitting two children who were walking by.

“Those two very young pedestrians are crime victims at this point,” Viada said.

The teens then attempted the jump again, this time with someone filming the stunt.

“They were attempting to catch air in their car and when they arrived on Sixth between C and B, they lost control and they crashed into a parked pickup truck,” Viada said.

That truck was parked on the north side of the road, but the force of the collision was so great it ended up on the south side of the street further down the hill.

Viada said it wasn’t clear yet how fast the teens were driving, but a wreck that severe should not have occurred in a residential neighborhood.

“You’ve got a vehicle that is nearly completely destroyed and involved in an accident on a quiet residential street where the speed limit is 25 miles per hour,” Viada said.

“It’s completely incongruous to see that kind of damage and that kind of accident on that kind of street.”

The State Patrol and the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office are helping in the incident, which police are describing as a vehicular assault case.

Viada said a collision reconstructionist from the State Patrol was assisting in the investigation.

A person is guilty of vehicular assault if they drive in a reckless manner that causes substantial bodily harm to another.

Vehicles were secured as evidence.

“The point of all of this is finding a way as a community to prevent this from happening in the future,” Viada said.

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Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at jmajor@peninsuladailynews.com.

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