TUKWILA, Wash. - Friday, a pole crushed Tom and Linda Cook’s car while they were inside, with live power lines surrounding the couple as they waited to be rescued.
The damage stretched more than a mile. More than 16,000 customers lost power, and their car was crushed by a pole.
“Seeing the photos of the vehicle, if I had seen those photos as a bystander or after the fact and I looked at the photos, I would have said somebody died in the car, but I know they didn’t because we’re the ones that were in there,” Tom Cook told KCPQ.
Tom was behind the wheel Friday afternoon, Linda was in the passenger seat. He says driving southbound on East Marginal Way he watched as power lines exploded and started to collapse around his car. He says he tried to maneuver his car the best he could, but then the vehicle came to an abrupt stop.
“At first I don’t know what happened, then you realize a pole fell on your car,” he said.
The entire front end of their car was smashed, glass was everywhere, and the couple was now separated by a massive pole through their car. Their lives were saved by a matter of inches.
“If it had hit the windshield or the sunroof, the power lines would have come into the car,” said Cook. “If it had been off center to one side or the other it would have collapsed the roof on top of one of us."
The couple avoided the crashing power line, but their ordeal was far from over.
“You don’t want to get out of the car because those wires are still live,” said Cook.
“We could have been dead; we could still be dead until they get us out of these things,” said Linda Cook.
The Cook family estimates they were in the car for about an hour as first responders worked to get the power shut off and rescue them from the smashed vehicle.
When crews finally removed the couple, they raced both Tom and Linda to the hospital. Amazingly, the couple only suffered bumps, cuts, and bruises and had no broken bones.
Both Tom and Linda say they feel blessed to even walk away from their car.
As of Sunday night, there is still no answer to what caused more than two dozen poles to crash into the street during rush hour.
Officials with Seattle City Light say they hope to get more answers Monday when they expect to get surveillance video from the scene.