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SEATTLE - There were no mechanical problems with a Cascadia Cabs pedicab involved in a deadly collision with a minivan Wednesday in Seattle, says the owner of the company, who blames the driver for the crash.
Ryan Hashagen of Bellingham, the company’s owner, said the brakes of the three-wheeled touring vehicle were working properly, and that the driver should never have taken the pedicab down such a steep slope.
The crash killed one passenger, a 60-year-old man, who died at the scene after the pedicab ran a red light and collided with a minivan near Western Avenue and Cedar Street. The man was thrown from the cab and rolled under the minivan.
The other passenger, a 56-year-old woman, was injured, as was the 23-year-old driver of the pedicab. Both are expected to recover.
Hashagen said he has no idea why the driver, who had been on the job only two weeks, didn’t brake in time as he headed west on Cedar towards Western with his two passengers.
But witnesses say the driver was shouting that he had no brakes as he blew through the intersection.
Douglas Benedetti, a veteran Seattle pedicab driver who spoke to KOMO News, said he has seen brakes fail on the three-wheeled, pedal-powered vehicles dozens of times.
He said the pedicabs have only one brake - a metal rod that connects to a leather strap - and no hand brakes.
But Hashagen said all of his 17 pedicabs are thoroughly checked before they leave the garage each day. If there’s a mechanical problem, he fixes it.
He said his heart goes out to the victims, and that he is working with the police on the accident investigation. Hashagen also said that he is insured for up to $1 million, and that he screens and trains all of his drivers.
Meanwhile, state and city officials say no special licenses or training are required to operate a pedicab within the city of Seattle.
Witnesses said it appeared that the man and woman in the pedicab were on their way to the waterfront, possibly for a cruise, and that they may have come from Safeco Field.
The woman passenger and driver were both listed in serious condition at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle after the accident, but both were upgraded to satisfactory condition on Thursday.