ABERDEEN, Wash. (AP) — A tribal spokesman says eight Quinault Indian Nation tribal elders and staff members have been injured in a traffic crash in Aberdeen.
Spokesman Steve Robinson says the Quinault group was headed to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on Tuesday morning when their van collided with a pickup truck. Robinson says two elders were airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, one with a broken pelvis and the other with a broken pelvis and broken ribs. Other injuries in the crash included broken bones, bumps and bruises.
None of the injuries was considered critical.
The crash caused the van to flip over. Robinson says the two people in the pickup were not seriously hurt.
“The truck just came out of nowhere,” one of the victims said. The accident put an abrupt end to the elders’ plans to attend a conference in Phoenix, Arizona.
Upon hearing of the accident, tribal staff rushed to provide support.
“This was a terrible accident,” said Tribal Councilman Larry Ralston. “The Tribe and the families will take every precaution with our elders and provide all the support we can to help nurse them back to health. I just wish people would slow down and be more cautious,” he said. Preliminary indications are that the pickup truck ran a red light when it crashed into the tribal van. The accident is being investigated by local authorities.
Among other things, the Tribe is setting up grief counseling, as a precaution, for the seniors and their families.
“Our hearts go out to the victims of this terrible accident,” said Fawn Sharp, President of the Quinault Nation. “We do all we can to keep our seniors safe. They are very precious to us. We extend our gratitude to the local police, Harborview, and Grays Harbor Community Hospital and all other emergency services personnel who rendered aid in this morning’s emergency.”
The names of the victims were withheld until consent to publish them is provided.