Traffic was backed up for more than an hour on Interstate 405 in Kirkland Friday afternoon when a pickup truck and the 30-foot recreational trailer it was towing rolled over after the driver lost control.
A passerby who stopped to help suffered a minor back injury while trying to help the elderly couple in the truck get out of the overturned vehicle.
“They couldn’t get out of the vehicle because it was on its side, and they were an elderly couple,” said Kirkland Fire Department Capt. Larry Peabody, who was on the scene.
The rollover happened in the southbound lanes of I-405 just north of the 520 Bridge exit at about 1:15 p.m. Peabody said the couple were from British Columbia and were traveling to Yuma, Arizona.
“The trailer started to sway and ended up rolling over on its side,” he said.
No other vehicles were involved. Photos show the trailer and truck came to a stop in the HOV lane near the freeway median. The couple were not injured, but the man who stopped to help aggravated a pre-existing back condition and was taken to Overlake Hospital in Bellevue.
Peabody said the truck and trailer were heavily damaged, probably both total losses. After the couple were out of the pickup, firefighters shut off a propane tank on the trailer and stabilized it with jacks until a heavy tow truck arrived to remove both vehicles.
The couple in the truck were taken by Peabody and other rescuers to a hotel in Bellevue to await help from relatives.
Traffic was backed up in both directions on I-405 for perhaps two hours, the worst being in the southbound lanes, from the scene north to the NE 116th street exit.
Peabody added that firefighters were concerned by the safety issue of many drivers who took photographs as they passed the scene. “We see that all the time,” he said. “Some were using both hands to take photos.”