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Friday, April 10, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Crash Of Stolen Van Kills Teenage Driver

By From Staff And Wire Reports

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.

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