Minor injuries Friday after car crashes off Chehalis River Bridge

The driver was headed up an off-ramp and swerved to avoid incoming traffic

A driver and passenger escaped with minor injuries Friday after driving through a pedestrian rail on the Chehalis River Bridge and landing upside down in a construction company property.

The outcome could have been much worse, said Cmdr. Steve Timmons of the Aberdeen Police Department.

“The driver was a 40-year-old male from the Westport area,” Timmons said in a phone interview. “He was going up the wrong way, up the State Street off-ramp.”

As the driver, whose name was not released, was driving up the ramp at around 9:30 p.m., oncoming traffic flashed their lights at him, and he swerved to avoid a collision, striking and going through the pedestrian rail on the north side of the bridge, which is weaker than the regular guardrails, and landing upside down on equipment in the John Lupo Construction Inc.’s gear yard next to the bridge.

“Some people from the (homeless) camp ran over and assisted,” Timmons said. “They’re very very fortunate they weren’t injured or land on anybody.”

April Spencer, co-owner of the construction company, said the vehicle didn’t cause any serious damage, and that they were working with police to remove it.

Driver and passenger were transported for evaluation for minor injuries, once they were able to extricate the passenger.

“They were pretty fortunate,” Timmons said. “We want to thank those who ran over there.”

A responding officer determined they were not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and the driver was cited for driving the wrong way and driving without insurance.

“Maintenance is working as quickly as they can to repair the bridge,” said Washington Department of Transportation communications consultant April Leigh in a phone interview.

Being cognizant of the area’s one-way streets can prevent crashes and ensure safe driving, Timmons said. Police are working on removing the vehicle and hope to have it clear by Wednesday, Timmons said.

Contact Senior Reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or mlockett@thedailyworld.com.