Crime

94-year-old man made it across Tacoma Narrows driving the wrong way, deputies say

Traffic flows on the eastbound Tacoma Narrows bridge on state Route 16 in Gig Harbor in June 2016. A 94-year-old Poulsbo man drove across that bridge the wrong way Tuesday afternoon before being stopped by a Pierce County sheriff’s deputy, the department announced Wednesday.
Traffic flows on the eastbound Tacoma Narrows bridge on state Route 16 in Gig Harbor in June 2016. A 94-year-old Poulsbo man drove across that bridge the wrong way Tuesday afternoon before being stopped by a Pierce County sheriff’s deputy, the department announced Wednesday. Staff file, 2016

A Pierce County sheriff’s deputy stopped a 94-year-old man in Gig Harbor who had driven the wrong way across the Tacoma Narrows on Tuesday afternoon, according to the department.

The deputy stopped the man on state Route 16 near the eastbound toll booths about 1:40 p.m., according to a news release posted to the department’s Facebook page.

According to the release:

The deputy was driving east in heavy traffic on SR 16 when he saw other cars slamming on their brakes and swerving. He looked ahead and saw a gold Toyota Camry going west in the eastbound lanes.

When the deputy started a rolling slowdown, the 94-year-old Poulsbo man in the Camry did not slow down. Instead, he cut across three lanes of traffic, entered the carpool lane and began to speed up.

The deputy then parked his patrol car in the carpool lane, stopping directly in the path of the Camry.

The Poulsbo man stopped the car just a few feet in front of the deputy’s cruiser.

The deputy walked up to the car and, seeing the age of the driver, asked him to turn the car off and hand its keys to him.

He asked the man what happened, but the man had no idea where he was or how he got onto the highway, nor did his 88-year-old wife.

Deputies believe the man he was driving on Jackson Street in Tacoma before taking the wrong ramp to SR 16 because the cars were going too fast around him and he was trying to get away from them.

The man was cited for reckless driving, and deputies took the couple to their Kitsap County home. A family member picked up their car.

Kenny Ocker: 253-597-8627, @KennyOcker

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