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Boom-lift vehicle overturns at seawall in Langley

A boom lift from Birch Equipment in Anacortes lies upside down next to the Dog House Tavern in Langley after the driver lost control of the lift while trying to maneuver it down the access road to Seawall Park. No one was hurt in the incident. - Brian Kelly / The Record
A boom lift from Birch Equipment in Anacortes lies upside down next to the Dog House Tavern in Langley after the driver lost control of the lift while trying to maneuver it down the access road to Seawall Park. No one was hurt in the incident.
— image credit: Brian Kelly / The Record

LANGLEY - A boom-lift operator escaped injury Tuesday afternoon when he lost control of his rig on a steep grade and it overturned at the entrance to Seawall Park in Langley.

Stephen Johnson, 22, of Clinton was attempting to navigate the heavy piece of equipment down the access road next to the Dog House Tavern when the incident occurred about 1 p.m., Langley police said.

Langley Police Officer Randy Heston said Johnson was driving the vehicle from its boom basket when he apparently decided the paved access road was too steep and shifted into reverse.

The tires spun and smoked, but the vehicle continued down the hill. Heston said Johnson lowered the boom basket to the ground to try to stop the rig, but when that failed, too, Johnson jumped.

The vehicle skidded down the slope and landed upside down near the seawall's level walkway after wiping out a section of railing from the park's observation deck and leaving parallel black marks on the pavement.

Johnson is an employee of Richard Epstein Custom Homes of Freeland, and was trying to get the boom to the seawall for work on one of the buildings along First Street, Heston said.

Johnson said he has worked for Epstein for about four years, but declined further comment.

Gwen Jones was at her job at Mike's Place across the street when the incident occurred. She said she didn't hear anything, but came outside when she smelled burning rubber.

"It's the most excitement we've had in this town in a long time," she said.

Heston said plans were being made to remove the vehicle, which he said had been rented from Birch Equipment in Anacortes.

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