Car slams into apartment bldg.; residents evacuated, driver arrested

SEATTLE - A man was arrested after he crashed a car into a South Seattle apartment building then fought with officers as he tried to run from the scene, police said. Damage to the building was so extensive that all residents had to be evacuated.

Officers and medics responded to the scene, at Martin Luther King Jr. Way and South Walden Street, at about 9:45 a.m. Thursday after receiving reports that a vehicle had crashed into a building.

When officers arrived, they found that a PT Cruiser had slammed into a three-story apartment building and was embedded into a wall.

The driver tried to flee from the scene on foot, then fought with officers when they tried to detain him, police said. He was taken into custody.

A male passenger trapped inside the car had to be cut free, then was taken to Harborview Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.

"The car basically went through the parking garage, went all the way through a laundry room and actually moved all the laundry machines out of that laundry room," said Kyle Moore of the Seattle Fire Department.

"It caused significant damage to the building - so much damage that we are evacuating the building of all the residents, because we don't believe at this time the structure is safe," Moore added.

According to witnesses, the driver and passenger had just left a business in the vicinity, where the two were involved in a disturbance.

The pair initially left the business but then returned, where the driver assaulted two employees of the business because he thought they had called the police, said Renee Witt of the Seattle police. The driver then crashed into the apartment building as he attempted to flee the area, Witt said.

The driver will be evaluated for possible drug intoxication, then booked into the King County Jail for investigation of assault and property damage.