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Thursday, September 19, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

Man pulled from Spokane River after pickup drives over embankment

A city truck lies crumpled beside the Spokane River where it landed Monday, April 4, 2016, after a plunge down the embankment from Northwest Boulevard. The driver was in critical condition Monday night. The location is just east of the city’s water treatment plant. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
A city truck lies crumpled beside the Spokane River where it landed Monday, April 4, 2016, after a plunge down the embankment from Northwest Boulevard. The driver was in critical condition Monday night. The location is just east of the city’s water treatment plant. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

A city of Spokane parks employee was rescued from the Spokane River on Monday afternoon after the pickup he was driving went over a steep embankment and across another street before coming to rest near the shore.

The man was in critical condition Monday evening.

The 27-year-old driver was headed southeast about 4 p.m. on Northwest Boulevard when he veered across the road and struck some bushes and a small tree in a yard near Providence Avenue, then veered back across Northwest Boulevard and over the embankment, witnesses said. The city-owned pickup crashed through a wall at the bottom of the hill, then crossed Aubrey L. White Parkway and stopped near shore. The truck traveled more than 200 vertical feet before coming to rest.

The driver was ejected from the pickup and pulled from the river by witnesses who ran to the scene from Northwest Boulevard.

Andrea Schlesser-Dury, a nurse at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, was driving toward Audubon Park when the truck flew past her. She said it looked like the driver was having a medical emergency of some kind.

“It looked like he was not OK,” she said. “He was hunched over his steering wheel.”

She then saw the truck go over the edge of the embankment. She and another man ran down to the river’s edge, where the man was submerged. They went several feet into the river to pull him out of the water, which was beyond knee-deep, she said. The man was semiconscious, Schlesser-Dury said.

“I was surprised that he was still somewhat alert,” she said. “I’m pulling for him.”

H.B. Wright lives near where the truck went off the road and witnessed the crash.

“I was thinking to myself, ‘Dude, you better stop,’ and he didn’t,” Wright said. “He drove straight down. He’s lucky he didn’t roll.”

Josh Hadway said he was in his home when he heard a loud crash.

When Hadway got down to the truck, he said, the passenger door was open. It didn’t appear the man was ejected through the windshield or window, Hadway said.

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