A stolen rental van raced through downtown red lights at speeds as high as 90 mph early Wednesday before slamming into a utility pole, killing the teenage driver and injuring his 14-year-old passenger.
The crash, which resulted in a morning rush hour closure of a busy intersection created a huge traffic backup on nearby streets and Interstate 5.
The King County medical examiner’s office said Frank Darnell, 18, of Seattle, died early Wednesday at Harborview Medical Center.
The 14-year-old boy, who was from Des Moines, was reported in serious condition later Wednesday at Harborview, a spokesman said. The boy’s name was not immediately available.
Just before the crash, a Seattle police officer tried to stop the van by turning on his flashing emergency lights, but it drove off at a high speed, police said.
The officer did not chase the van, police spokesman Sean O’Donnell said.
Police first became aware of the van at about 2:30 a.m. when some residents reported hearing a van strike a curb, then saw two people run away, police reports said.
Police then were told the two returned to the van and drove away, O’Donnell said.
A short time later, one officer located the van and tried to stop it.
Witnesses estimated the van was traveling as fast as 90 mph.
The driver lost control, jumped a curb and sheared off a utility pole before sliding into a second pole, police said.
Aero RentaCar of Bellevue reported the van stolen Wednesday morning.