1 killed, 2 injured as driver fleeing from cops crashes into Centralia home

19-year-old Austin Courtright died after crashing his car into a house while trying to elude police early Monday morning, Oct. 24, 2016. (Photo: Centralia Police)

CENTRALIA, Wash. - A 19-year-old driver was killed overnight when his car crashed into a home as he was fleeing form police at high speed through Centralia, police said. Two women passengers in the car were severely injured.

"I heard what I thought was something coming down and crashing in the house I thought it was a tree falling I didn't if it was raining or what was going on," said Briana Culp, who lives in the home.

The drama unfolded at about 2:15 a.m. when a patrol officer attempted to pull over a driver for a traffic violation near the intersection of Oxford Avenue and Marion Street, said Sgt. Carl Buster of the Centralia police.

That driver, Austin Courtright, refused to stop and accelerated away from the officer, driving over the Sixth Street viaduct, Buster said. The officer wasn’t able to keep up with the car due to its high rate of speed.

As the officer reached the top of the Sixth Street viaduct, he spotted the speeding car heading west on Sixth Street, blowing through two stop signs.

Just west of Pearl Street intersection, the fleeing driver lost control and swerved off the road, slamming into the corner of a home in the 300 block of West Sixth Street. The driver and one passenger were ejected as the car crashed into the home.

Wesley Perdue, a nurse who also lives at the home, dashed outside and tried to give Courtright CPR.

"As soon as I came downstairs, the guy was in such bad shape I just immediately went to him," said Perdue.

The patrol officer and arriving medics also attempted CPR, but Courtright died at the scene, Buster said.

Both female passengers were severely injured. One was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, and the other was flown to a trauma center in Portland. Their conditions and identities have not been released.

Officers said Courtright was also wanted by the State Department of Corrections on a probation violation.

"He had a really hard life growing up. He was in and out of foster care," said the driver's sister, Shania Courtright, as she fought back tears. "Everyone makes mistakes and he did not deserve this."

No one inside the home was hurt.

Centralia police said they don't believe drugs or alcohol played a role in the race. The Washington State Patrol is now investigating.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off