Driver smashes car into Port Angeles business – Peninsula Daily News

Justin Brophy, general manager of Northwest Tobacco Emporium, at 309 E. First St. in Port Angeles, examines the front of the establishment on Wednesday morning after a car crashed into the building and caught fire late Tuesday night. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Police officers rescue man from burning vehicle
PORT ANGELES — A car believed to have been racing down First Street at about 100 mph crashed into the front of the Northwest Tobacco Emporium in Port Angeles on Tuesday evening and burst into flames.
Two Port Angeles police officers rescued the man, who was trapped part-way inside the car.

Officers arrived at the business on First Street near Chase at about 11:40 p.m. Tuesday and found the car — a blue 2008 Mazda 6 — embedded in the front of the business and on fire, according to a press release.

The driver had partially ejected from the open driver’s side window and had a head wound.

The driver — a 22-year-old man and Port Angeles resident — was not identified on Wednesday, said Port Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Jason Viada. He was taken to Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles.
“Officers arrived and began trying to remove the bleeding driver from the burning car, but discovered that his obviously broken leg was stuck under the dash,” Viada said.

“Another officer used a fire extinguisher to knock down the flames, but was not able to completely extinguish the flames.”
Officers — with the aid of an unidentified civilian passing by — worked to free the driver from the burning car, but his leg was stuck under the dash, Viada said.

Officers were able to remove the driver from the car and move him to safety, where he was turned over to medics.
Officer Lilly Emery suffered lacerations from the broken glass while trying to rescue the driver, and Officer Kyle Cooper’s uniform was burnt while reaching into the burning car. Officer Jeff Ordoña also aided in the response.
Firefighters arrived and extinguished the fire, which also damaged the building.
The estimated speed of the car comes from a witness who reported seeing the vehicle driving down Front Street, Viada said. According to the ongoing investigation, the driver had previously been drinking at two local bars and had become “despondent” before driving.
“Investigation points to this possibly being a suicide attempt,” Viada said.
On Wednesday, the front of the Northwest Tobacco Emporium— located at 309 E. First Street — was severely damaged and the business remained closed. The front door of the business was destroyed in the crash, requiring staff to remain on site to safeguard the shop.
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Reporter Peter Segall can be reached at peter.segall@peninsuladailynews.com.
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