A 65-year-old tourist who was struck by a van and trapped beneath its wheels on South Franklin Street Wednesday afternoon was in serious condition at a Seattle hospital today.
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Marian Noe, of Olympia, Wash., sustained head, chest and arm injuries and is being treated at the Harborview Medical Center, said Kristin Foley, a hospital spokeswoman.
Police said Noe was struck around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday by a 1998 Ford 15-passenger tour van just north of the dockside tram station.
"People were screaming and tourists were yelling 'someone got hit,' " said Arika Beaudry, manager of Caribou Crossings, a gift shop near the accident scene. "It was pretty chaotic, but there were people out there trying to calm things down."
Leo Mendoza, an employee at Frontier Gifts, saw the accident and said Noe was walking on the crosswalk in front of a parking lot as the van was turning left into the lot.
Witnesses said Noe may have stepped in front of the van or fallen from the curb before she was struck, police Sgt. Ben Coronell said today.
"The driver of the van just didn't have time to react, according to the witnesses," said Coronell. "Unfortunately he hit the brakes and the van stopped on top of her."
At least 10 bystanders helped to lift the van and pull the woman from under it, police said. But Mendoza said he ran outside at the time and saw only three to five men lifting the truck.
"The front left tire was on her back," said Mendoza. "She was moving and conscious. She was saying, 'It hurts, it hurts,' and I really couldn't understand the rest.
"There were at least three but no more than five men who ran over to the van and just started lifting it up to get it off her. It happened so fast. They just found the strength somewhere. Can you imagine it? Those are not small vans. They carry at least 15 people. But I guess if it were you or I in that situation you find the strength."
Noe was treated by two vacationing paramedics and a doctor who happened to be in the area, police said today.
Noe was admitted at around 2:50 p.m. to Bartlett Regional Hospital, where she was treated for rib fractures and a pulmonary contusion, or deep chest bruising, said Bartlett spokeswoman Marijo Toner. She was medevaced around 6:45 p.m. to Seattle, where Noe also was diagnosed with a punctured lung, a closed head injury and a fractured arm, Foley said.
The van's driver, a man 42, whose name is not being released, was uninjured. Coronell said the driver was not at fault.
Sgt. Troy Wilson, head of the police community service unit, said typically one of four crossing guards is available to help pedestrians cross the street in that area on days where cruise ship traffic is heavy. However, he said, the guard scheduled for Wednesday had called in sick.
Melanie Plenda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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