Forklifts are notoriously clumsy and slow, which may explain why they do not appear often on city streets. Unfortunately, on Tuesday, Feb. 7, a large forklift ventured into Aurora Avenue North heading west and allegedly triggered a three-vehicle accident that caused one death.
Before it entered the northbound lane on Aurora, the forklift collided with an SUV carrying two women. The SUV then collided with a landscape truck that was heading south on Aurora.
Members of the Seattle Fire Department pulled two women from the wreckage and took them to Harborview Medical Center. One of the women died from her injuries.
Other witnesses said they saw police officers remove several bottles of alcohol from the forklift.
Police on the scene believed that the forklift operator appeared to be under the influence of alcohol, and the driver was taken to the North Precinct station house for evaluation by a Drug Recognition Expert. If the evaluation yields a positive result, the operator could be arrested and charged with vehicular homicide.
A large lumberyard stands adjacent to the spot of the accident. The owner of the yard said that he uses forklifts every day but that he forbids them from crossing Aurora Avenue. At this point, no evidence has emerged that would connect the lumberyard with the accident.
The family of the deceased woman may have a valid claim for wrongful death damages, and the woman who was injured appears to have a valid claim for personal injuries, including medical expenses, lost income and future disability.