Mudslide lifts van off Pierce County road


by KING 5 News

Posted on March 10, 2011 at 6:11 AM

Updated Friday, Mar 11 at 6:20 PM

EDGEWOOD, Wash. - Heavy rain from a March storm caused a mudslide that swept a mini van on a heavily traveled road in Pierce County.

Edgewood engineers have closed off Jovita Boulevard, a main arterial in Edgewood, due to the mudslide.

"It's like soup, soupy soup," said Edgewood Public Works Director Joe Seet.

The slide, reported to be several feet high, came down across Jovita Boulevard near the West Valley Highway between the towns of Pacific and Edgewood around 2:30 a.m. Thursday.

A couple happened to be driving by as mud hit the road. A giant tree, rock and earth moved under their van, lifting it off the road.  Edgewood Police arrived and helped the couple to safety. The wife and husband didn't want to talk to media, but they said they are ok.

Jovita Boulevard is a popular shortcut for residents between Pacific and Highway 167.

"It's a fast way to Highway 167," said Dawn Carlson, who likes to use the road. "But now, we have to backtrack and drive all the way around."

Slide warning signs are posted all along the hilly road, so the mudslide comes as no surprise to Carlson. In fact, her car was hit by a falling tree branch last year a short distance from the mudslide.

"It was really scary. It sounded like a bomb hit my car," she said. "I'm glad that couple is ok."

Engineers are assessing the hillside. Once it's stablized, cleanup crews will move the debris. They hope to re-open the road by the evening commute.