POULSBO — Brake failure caused a car to careen through the Viking Avenue and Lindvig Way intersection around 2:55 p.m. Sept. 22, crashing into the base of the “Norseman” sculpture.
There were no serious injuries.
Chuck Stone, the driver of the car, said when he hit his brakes, “the brake line felt like it snapped; there was no pressure at all.”
“We got into traffic and there was no where to go. I swerved the best I could. When I came through, one of the work trucks popped into the back of me and … thankfully, smacked me into here and stopped me.
“I’m happy he did, cause I would have kept going.”
After the truck hit his car, Stone’s car swerved into the “Velkommen til Poulsbo” sign, in front of the “Norseman” statue. The welcome sign was destroyed and Stone’s car was totaled, though the Viking statue was undamaged.
Stone said he’d driven all the way from Belfair, stopping only briefly to pick up a hitchhiker, when his brakes failed in Poulsbo.
The hitchhiker, Stone said, immediately took off with no explanation after the accident. Stone did not get the hitchhiker’s name, and had no idea why he fled the scene.
Stacey Smaaladen, a patrol officer with the Poulsbo Police Department, said Stone was coming down Finn Hill Road when his brakes failed, and he tried to turn into a church parking lot to avoid traffic, but “was going way too fast.”
Smaaladen said no one asked for medical attention, and Stone said his injuries — bruised ribs — were the worst accrued in the accident.
Hannah Siperek, whose car mirror came off after being struck by Stone’s car, said her back “is a little hurt, but … it could be from tensing.”
Stone said, “All I kept thinking was, ‘Please don’t let me hurt anybody.’ That’s all I was thinking. I didn’t want anybody else to get hurt. I’m a father. I couldn’t imagine if I hurt somebody’s mom or dad. That would just kill me. I couldn’t imagine having to go through all of that.
“I’m just happy no one was seriously injured. That’s the biggest deal.”
Stone said he doesn’t know what happened to his brakes, but that mechanics will work to determine the cause of their failure.
As of afternoon Sept. 22, no citations were issued to Stone, but Smaaladen said he could be cited for lack of insurance — she said Stone wasn’t sure if his wife paid the insurance bill — and that it appeared there was poor maintenance on the car, which could have contributed to the accident, and he could be cited for that as well.
However, Smaaladen still needed to talk to witnesses, which she does after the fact, and do diagrams of the accident before she can be sure what, if any, citations will be issued.
Smaaladen said there are few accidents in the busy intersection, and that most of them are the result of drivers not paying attention and bumping into other cars. For instance, Siperek witnessed another accident — a minor fender bender — while waiting to talk to Smaaladen, which the police officer suggested was probably due to the driver looking at the scene of Stone’s accident.
Stone said that the most important takeaway from his accident was that no one was hurt.
“As far as I can tell, everybody’s fine and happy,” Stone said. “Just a couple scared people and some hurt ribs. I can live with that.”
He added that people should take this as a lesson to “just be careful driving.”
“I’m just happy it went the way it did, and we’re all safe.”