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ICW changes challenge drivers

Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter Re-striping restricts drivers to a right-turn-only from S.E. 44th Street onto Island Crest Way. -
Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter Re-striping restricts drivers to a right-turn-only from S.E. 44th Street onto Island Crest Way.
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Two ICW traffic accidents nearby unrelated

By J. Jacob Edel
Mercer Island Reporter

Two accidents occurred in consecutive days on Island Crest Way last week just north of the new improvements at Merrimount Drive and Island Crest Way.

Last Tuesday, an Island mailman was hospitalized shortly after his mail truck was rear-ended while parked on the south side of the road in front of a home at 4225 Island Crest Way. According to the police report, the mailman pulled over in front of the home just before 1 p.m. on Oct. 23, but a portion of the truck remained in the right lane. The report also states the flashing yellow hazard lights were on, but an 81-year-old Island resident didn’t notice the truck sticking out into the roadway and hit the left, rear corner of the truck. The impact pushed the mail truck forward into a tree, turning it sideways. The driver’s Toyota Camry spun into the roadway, still facing the rear of the mail truck.

The truck was facing southbound just north of the new improvements at Merrimount Drive. The police report did not indicate how fast the car was traveling when it hit the mail truck. The police report stated the 60-year-old mailman, who lives in Redmond, suffered chest pains and a bump on his head. Both the mailman and the man were taken to the hospital for observation. As of Monday, the mailman had not returned to work.

According to Dale Goforth, the Mercer Island postmaster, the post office will conduct its own separate investigation of the accident.

“Right now, we’re just waiting for the police report and more information about the accident,” he said, the day after it occurred.

The following day and just on the other side of the street, a three-car collision occurred around 4 p.m. while a boy crossed Island Crest Way in the crosswalk of the 4200 block. It was raining and the roads were wet.

According to the police report, a 36-year-old man in an SUV stopped for the pedestrian but the car behind him was rear-ended and pushed into the back of his car. The 34-year-old woman from Renton who hit the middle car told police she saw the brake lights of the Volvo in front of her, but the brakes on her 2007 Honda CRV locked up and she skidded into the back of it, trying to stop. The Volvo then hit the SUV in front of it. Only the driver of the SUV reported back pain. No other injuries were indicated in the police report.

The three-car pile up caused a significant northbound backup, through the new intersection on Island Crest Way for about a half hour.

The new changes to the intersection were put into place last week as a temporary measure to improve the safety of the intersection. Island Crest Way and Merrimount is one of the Island’s most dangerous intersections. City officials urge residents to be mindful of the new revisions and be careful driving through the intersection. Public hearings will take place during the spring after the city monitors the intersection over the next six months. Money for a traffic signal at the intersection has been budgeted in the city’s 2010 road improvement fund.

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