Crews in Port Angeles and Sequim have been working tirelessly to repair and replace tires punctured by screws that drivers said were picked up on U.S. Highway 101 at Morse Creek east of Port Angeles.
Some 300 drivers brought vehicles in with screws in their tires last week, workers said.
Workers at Les Schwab in Port Angeles have been putting in extra hours to help the influx of about 250 customers the tire center had seen since 10:30 a.m. on Oct. 21, assistant manager Bob Evans said.
Evans said the increase is so unusual that the shop has been repairing all flats for free, not just Les Schwab tires.
“We do have a higher volume than normal,” he said. “We’re used to a high volume, but it has increased significantly.
“We had some customers waiting for two to three hours, but they know and can tell we’re moving them out as quick as possible.”
Evans said the majority of the tires seen at the shop have been repairable. Most tires have had only a few screws, though one tire had 22 screws.
He said many people have been able to drive to the shop for repairs while others required tows.
An employee at Olympic Tire & Auto Repair in Port Angeles said workers there have seen a handful of customers with screws in their tires, which was unusual.
Mark Vickerman, manager at Discount Tire in Sequim, said the past two days have been the busiest he has ever seen at the store.
He estimated that since 1 p.m. on Oct. 21, Discount Tire had 30 to 40 customers with screws in their tires.
Like Les Schwab, Discount Tire also is offering free repairs to anyone.
“It really was quite an ordeal,” he said. “The cars were just rolling in.”
He said the screws he has seen have all been the same type of wood screw, which customers say they picked up while driving through Morse Creek.
Those screws have been holding in air so customers were able to drive.
Some have speculated that the screws fell out of someone’s truck while others have questioned whether it was intentional, Vickerman said.
State Trooper Chelsea Hodgson said the State Patrol received several calls about the screws on Oct. 21 and 22.
“We did receive a number of complaints,” she said, adding that because of how the reports were recorded it’s hard to know exactly how many complaints were made.
She said there is no information indicating that someone left the screws in the road intentionally, but is asking anyone with information to contact the State Patrol by calling 360-473-0300.
“If it’s intentional, we want to know about it,” Hodgson said.
She said anyone who sees an active hazard in the roadway should call 9-1-1.