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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Coffee run ends with a different kind of jolt

Billy Colleran, 18, watches a tow truck pull his car from a stormwater swale Monday in Spokane Valley.
 (Peter Barnes / The Spokesman-Review)

No, it wasn’t the caffeine.

Billy Colleran was on a mocha run for his buddy’s girlfriend Monday morning when a slip of the foot sent his car into a giant swale positioned precipitously at the end of a Starbucks drive-through.

“It was just an accident,” he said.

At about 8:30 a.m. he drove to the coffee shop near Pines Road and Sprague Avenue.

Exiting the drive-through with wallet and beverage in hand, 18-year-old Colleran said he mistakenly hit the gas instead of the brake.

In a split second, the recent University High School graduate and his Chevy Corsica plunged through a cyclone fence and into a pit big enough that it could hide a couple classes of third-graders trying to evade the first day of school.

Not only did Colleran avoid serious injury in the 4-foot fall, the crash didn’t even spill the drink he instinctively lifted into the air to cushion it from the impact.

“The worst part of this is the Starbucks drive-through has been down for about 30 minutes now,” joked Spokane Valley police Deputy Robert King.

Behind him, several people were at long last discovering a use for their camera phones.

“Is this an advertisement for coffee?” one passer-by asked.

The brick-lined swale is designed to collect stormwater from nearby parking lots and resembles a backyard swimming pool, except for the grass in the bottom. The swale was wide enough to swallow the length of the car.

After several delicate maneuvers with a tow truck, the Corsica was freed and started, and Colleran and a friend drove it away.