A State Patrol officer and the driver of a stolen Ford pickup were seriously injured and airlifted Tuesday morning to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
David Scott Johnson, 40, of Sequim was driving the white Ford F-350 that struck State Patrol officer Alfred L. Alderson’s vehicle at 9:34 a.m. Tuesday, the State Patrol said.
The crash occurred on U.S. Highway 101 at milepost 283 just south of Discovery Bay.
By Tuesday afternoon, Johnson was in serious condition, while Alderson, 55, was in satisfactory condition, said Harborview spokesperson Susan Gregg.
Johnson is in custody for investigation of driving under the influence, said Trooper Chelsea Hodgson, State Patrol spokesperson.
The wreck is being investigated as a vehicular assault, she said. The offense is a Class B felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.
About 15 minutes before the crash, Johnson had been at the Longhouse Market in Blyn, according to authorities.
At the gas station there, he allegedly pointed a fuel pump nozzle at other customers, brandished a lighter and threatened to set the place on fire, said Clallam County Chief Criminal Deputy Brian King.
Johnson then went to a van parked nearby to douse it with gasoline and light it aflame, King said.
“Thanks to heroic efforts by an employee at the gas station, who used the emergency shutoff switch for the fuel pumps and got hold of the fire extinguishers, a potentially a catastrophic situation was diverted,” he said.
Flames damaged the exterior and interior of the van, King added; its driver had moved away to be clear of danger.
Johnson then got back behind the wheel of the Ford pickup — previously reported stolen to the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office — to head out on U.S. Highway 101.
Witnesses reported seeing Johnson driving erratically and passing vehicles in a no-passing zone before he went off the roadway to the right as he reached Discovery Bay.
There, the pickup struck the State Patrol’s fully marked commercial vehicle enforcement truck, which was parked on the southbound lane’s shoulder.
Alderson was inside his vehicle, emergency lights flashing as he conducted a traffic stop for inspection of a semitrailer truck, Hodgson said. He had finished his inspection and was unbelted, about to exit his vehicle.
The impact of Johnson’s stolen pickup pushed Alderson’s vehicle into the semi, Hodgson said; the driver of that truck was unhurt.