Police are blaming a ‘colossal’ brake failure after a tractor trailer rolled into the side of a Japanese restaurant on Friday.
The accident happened on September 25th at around 2 p.m. in Port Angeles, Washington.
Port Angeles Police say that the tractor trailer was stopped at Thurman Supply on East Front Street to make one of its final deliveries when the driver locked the air brakes on the rig and headed into the trailer. As the driver worked inside of the trailer, the air brakes on the tractor apparently failed, sending the nearly-empty truck rolling down a steep hill.
“He [the truck driver] thought it was an earthquake. He had no idea what was happening. He threw himself onto a pallet to ride it out,” said Officer Mike Johnson in an email to Peninsula Daily News.
As the rig rolled, it struck a nearby pickup truck, spun it around, and pushed it partway down the hill, which knocked the pickup driver to the ground. The semi truck then rolled through an alley and into the side of Okasan Restaurant, where it came to a stop four feet inside of the lobby and bathroom area of the restaurant.
The driver of the pickup was taken to a nearby hospital with minor injuries but was released later that day. No other injuries have been reported.
Officials say that, because there was very little weight at the back of the tractor trailer, the brakes on the trailer were unable to stop the heavy tractor from rolling. Officer Johnson also points out that, while still an unfortunate event, the situation could have been much worse.
“If that had happened (while he was driving) on Front Street, that could have been a mass casualty event,” he said. “The way it occurred had the lowest volume of damage.”