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Driver goes over the edge


Scott Hunter

With the laser light show flashing across Grand Coulee Dam in the background, Washington State Patrol leaders shine lights on and photograph a pickup (lower right) that went over the hill at the Riley Point overlook.

State Patrol investigators are piecing together the scene of a crash near the top of Grand Coulee Dam tonight.

A driver apparently powered through the parking lot in the overlook just below the top of Grand Coulee Dam, knocked over a street light, drove through the fence and down the long hill to the bottom of the ravine at Riley Point.

No tracks were visible on the hillside lit by the floodlights of a Bureau of Reclamation fire truck about 9 p.m. tonight, suggesting the pickup at the bottom may not have touched the ground on the way down, perhaps 200 feet.

The driver was taken to Coulee Medical Center and flown to Sacred Heart Medical Center. He was conscious and talking when rescuers took him from the site of the crash, a state trooper at the scene said.

Update: The State Patrol reports the driver, Christopher Coffey, 32, of Grand Coulee, was ejected from the 2000 Toyota Tundra he was driving, coming to rest about 25 yards from the pickup.

A Sacred Heart nurse reported that Coffey was in stable condition Saturday morning.

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