Driver jumps car onto Port Townsend beach

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PORT TOWNSEND — A Chimacum man, who later told police that he had “a couple beers” and “a lot of adrenaline” from a harrowing day at sea, allegedly flew his car over an embankment and onto the beach below south of downtown.

Joshua Duane Hannum, 35, sent the Subaru station wagon he was driving at least 12 feet over the breakwater and onto the beach at the end of Water Street early Saturday, Port Townsend police said Monday.

The link of Water Street lies behind the former state-run liquor store and often is used as ferry traffic-holding area during the summer months.

Officers Ryan Smith and Sherry Erickson responded to the scene behind Wells Fargo Bank at 2101 Washington St. at about 8 a.m. Saturday after hearing a report of a car on the beach.

The 9-1-1 caller said the Subaru was a couple of feet from the Port Townsend Bay waterline.

The officers later located Hannum, the car's registered owner, who reportedly had some blood and scratches on his face.

He told police he was the driver and lone occupant of the car when he drove it off the road on purpose around midnight the night before.

Hannum, who goes by the nickname “Admiral,” described a day at sea near the San Juan Islands during which he and other members of his crew narrowly avoided catastrophe sailing in bad weather, police spokesman Officer Luke Bogues reported Monday.

The adrenaline rush from the voyage carried over into the night, Hannum said, and he felt trying to jump his car would keep the natural high going.

Hannum told the officers that in spite of the alcohol, he didn't feel he was intoxicated at the time.

Because of the amount of time that had passed since the wreck, officers were not able to determine whether Hannum was impaired as he drove the car.

Smith measured 59 feet of skid marks on Water Street, indicating that the Subaru was braking before going over the large boulders forming the breakwater.

But the wet pavement combined with the car's speed sent the Subaru over the embankment anyway.

Last modified: December 10. 2012 6:21PM
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