SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska


Investigation Determined Driver Lost Consciousness


June 14, 2008

Ketchikan, Alaska - Information was released Friday by Deputy Chief Josh Dossett of the Ketchikan Police Department regarding the cause of the crash of a patrol car into Thomas Basis last weekend.

According to the information provide, on June 8, 2008 at approximately 0003 hours the Ketchikan Police Department received multiple 911 calls of a patrol vehicle, which had crashed by the Stedman Street Bridge and was now in the water in Thomas Basin.

jpg  Investigation

Chuck Pool of Pool Engineering lifts the KPD vehicle from the water at
Thomas Basin to be loaded on a tow truck.
Photograph by Jim Lewis

Ketchikan Police Officers arrived less than two minutes later and found citizens helping Sgt. Howard Townsend onto the sidewalk. Sgt. Townsend's patrol vehicle, which is a 2006 Ford Expedition, was submerged under water when officers arrived.

Based on witness statements the patrol vehicle was driving from Mill Street onto Stedman Street when it swerved behind the Federal Building, drove through the parking lot and broke through a concrete barricade. The vehicle fell approximately 14 feet into the water.

An investigation into the accident determined that Sgt. Townsend lost consciousness while operating his patrol vehicle said Deputy Chief Dossett. Sgt. Townsend remains on medical leave while doctors try to determine why he lost consciousness.

Sgt. Townsend regained consciousness after the vehicle came to a stop and started sinking. He was unable to open the door or window of his patrol vehicle and fired one round of his service weapon to break out the glass in the driver's door.

Witnesses assisted Sgt. Townsend to shore and helped him up to the roadway. Sgt. Townsend was transported to Ketchikan General Hospital by ambulance and was later released.

Results from blood and urine tests are expected on Monday, June 16th according to Deputy Chief Dossett.


Source of News:

Ketchikan Police Department


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