Traffic on southbound Interstate 5 was blocked for more than half-hour Sunday afternoon after shots, fired at the driver of a Chevy Surburban, set off multiple collisions and prompted a major emergency and police response.
All lanes of I-5 South were blocked near the Boeing Access Road in Seattle, causing a significant backup at the end of a summer weekend. Northbound traffic was affected as well, but by shortly after 6 p.m. all lanes were open.
"I couldn't even believe how long we were stuck and how all lanes were stopped," said Joseph Goldberg, who was trapped in traffic for more than an hour with his kids. They were trying to get to the Museum of Flight, which was closed by the time they got off the interstate.
The Seattle Police Department said a dispute between two groups of men began around 4 p.m. Sunday at a festival being held at Seward Park. According to SPD, the shooting began after "the 20-year-old male victim, who was with his 17 year old nephew, went to park his blue Chevy Surburban on a neighborhood street outside the park. The victim noticed the suspects who had seen in the park following him in a gray or green car. The victim tried to lose the suspects in the neighborhood and a chase ensued."
The suspects in the pursuing car fired multiple times at the Chevy Surburban, with the first shots fired in the 9000 block of Beacon Avenue South. SPD said "more shots were fired at Beacon Avenue South and South Juneau Street; possibly more shots were fired by the suspects at South Columbian Way and South Spokane Street."
The two cars drove on to I-5, and a shot fired at the Suburban hit the driver in the shoulder, causing him to lose control of his car. The Suburban collided with "a silver Kia 2-door occupied by two women in their 20′s who were not involved in the altercation," SPD said. The Kia then struck a Toyotal.
Seattle Fire said it extricated the two women from the Kia and transported them to Harborview Medical Center in stable condition.
Firefighters also transported the driver of the Surburban to Harborview Medical Center with serious but not life-threatening injuries, SFD said. The other passenger was not injured.
SPD was alerted later that another car was struck by a bullet on I-5. Its driver was uninjured and drove home to West Seattle before calling 911.
Washington State Patrol is investigating the collisions, while SPD's gangs unit is investigating the shooting.
As of Sunday evening, the suspects in the pursuing car remain at large.