A runaway motor home that crashed down the steps at the University of Washington Tacoma and killed the driver Monday had just been bought and came with a warning that it was not safe to drive, Tacoma police said Tuesday.
The bill of sale included a clause that the 18-foot-long motor home should be towed rather than driven, police said. The paperwork was found inside the vehicle after it sped out of control down South 19th Street and smashed into pieces.
Peggy Wilby, 65, of Shoreline, was killed in the accident. The News Tribune was unable to reach her family Tuesday.
Wilby and her daughter drove to Tacoma on Monday to buy the motor home, which they’d found advertised online, police said.
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Wilby’s daughter was following behind her in another vehicle as they searched for the freeway after buying the motor home at a Hilltop address.
Wilby reportedly called her daughter and said she was looking for a place to pull over because the brakes weren’t working properly, police said.
Then she turned down South 19th Street.
Witnesses reported hearing Wilby calling for help as the motor home careened downhill at about 70 miles per hour, picking up speed as the vehicle jumped a curb and smashed a concrete planter.
It then rolled down a staircase and several landings before coming to a stop near Pacific Avenue.
Wilby’s body was found outside of the motor home cab. Investigators have not determined whether she was wearing a seat belt or possibly removed it when she realized the vehicle was out of control, police said.
The motor home did not hit any pedestrians.
Police are still trying to determine what type of mechanical failure caused the crash and how fast the motor home was traveling.