Three people died and a fourth was hurt Wednesday when an SUV plowed into a bucket truck in a Tacoma alley.
Police do not know what led up to the wreck, which happened about 10:45 a.m. in an alley off South 14th Street between Martin Luther King Jr. Way and South J Street.
“We’re scratching our head just like everybody else,” Tacoma police spokeswoman Shelbie Boyd said. “Nothing about it makes any sense.”
A female driver and a male passenger inside the SUV were killed in the crash, and a male sitting in the back seat died after being taken to an area hospital in critical condition, Tacoma Fire spokesman Joe Meinecke said. The male in the back seat was not wearing a seat belt, Boyd said.
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A worker in the bucket truck suffered minor injuries and was in stable condition. A co-worker said the man complained of a hurt hip.
Utility truck driver Ron Hoover, 41, drives for his father’s company and said they were in the alley on a contract job for CenturyLink via an affiliated company, North Sky Communications.
“We were only going to be here a few minutes,” Hoover said.
He said his colleague was in the cherry-picker’s bucket, which was about 20 feet off the ground, to work on some wiring.
“I was sitting in the truck,” Hoover said. “I didn’t see them, didn’t hear them. All of a sudden, the truck was moving.”
The SUV hit the utility truck and pushed it about 30 feet, he said.
“He’s lucky he didn’t get thrown out of the bucket,” Hoover said.
Half a block away, Paul Engels, 56, heard what sounded like “an explosion” and ran out of his apartment. He was the second person on the scene and said smoke was pouring out of the crumpled SUV.
“No cops were behind them, so it wasn’t like they were being chased,” he said.
Boyd said there were no calls for service to indicate the people were chasing someone or being chased.
Hoover said he had only a couple of scrapes, but his co-worker was going for a more thorough check.
Staff writer Kenny Ocker contributed to this report.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653