Series of Mishaps Take Place During Friday Sellar Bridge Closure
In less than two hours, Wenatchee was embroiled in chaos as one man made a perilous journey to the top of George Sellar Bridge and inadvertently trapping commuters in traffic.
Around 3:40 p.m. on August 12, officers responded to a welfare check call. They were then reacquainted with a 32-year-old man they met on previous calls.
“[We] recognized the male as a subject that we've dealt with lots of times for substance abuse and mental health issues,” Wenatchee Police Officer Guy Bryant said.
The George Sellar bridge was closed both ways shortly after both WPD, Chelan County Sheriff’s Office, Chelan County Fire District #1, and the Behavioral Health unit arrived at the scene.
The suspect was able to get up on the side ladder normally used by Department of Transportation workers for maintenance checks. The ladder was locked off in a steel cage. Nevertheless the man was able to climb to the top of the bridge.
Police were initially unsuccessful in getting the man’s attention, but with enough patience, along with officers offering water and cigarettes, the man finally climbed down.
The suspect repeatedly told officers he was not suicidal, but that he just wanted a better view of Wenatchee.
The man was transported to Central Washington Hospital for a mental health evaluation. He was later cited for disorderly conduct and trespassing.
Throughout this ordeal, there were eight vehicle collisions, one of which temporarily closed down the Odabashian bridge, and another blocked two lanes of traffic on Western Avenue.
With the closure of both the George Sellar and Odabashian bridges, those traveling between Wenatchee and East Wenatchee were stuck in traffic.
The Friday night traffic rush combined with two closed down bridges and impatient drivers led to a series of collisions.
There were only four Wenatchee police officers on duty.
To the relief of Wenatchee Police officers, the Odabashian Bridge accident was handled by Washington State Patrol.
In this incident, a motorcycle group was going eastbound towards SR 97A when the leader of the group took a sharp turn, was struck by a motorcyclist behind him, and crashed.
The driver sustained non-life threatening injuries and transported to Central Washington Hospital. The Odabashian Bridge was reopened roughly 10 minutes after it was closed off.
The George Sellar Bridge was reopened by 5 p.m.