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Seattle, WA – The survivors of a deadly airport transport bus crash have established an Eighty-Five Thousand Dollar ($85,000.00) scholarship to honor the heroic efforts of a King County Detective. This is believed to be the largest and only such scholarship donation of its kind in Washington state.

The fatal crash occurred on July 25, 2019 when a phantom vehicle was improperly changing lanes.  It almost hit a car which then over corrected and drove over the median.  Plowed into an airporter bus. And flipped it onto its side.  Man killed in SeaTac crash after car strikes hotel shuttle |

A group of coworkers, flight crew and others were on the bus.  One of the coworkers was Bryan Panzanaro from New York.  A husband and father of four daughters.

Bryan Panzanaro and his family – prior to 2019 Crash

Mr. Panzanaro was partially ejected through a window.  Although he survived the initial impact, civilians could not lift the bus and he suffocated to death.  The remaining survivors suffered head injuries, broken bones and other physical and emotional harms.

The phantom vehicle left the scene.  The police asked the public for any information or witnesses. Police seeking witnesses of fatal July 25 shuttle van collision in SeaTac – The B-Town (Burien) Blog (

Photo courtesy of Erika Schultz, Seattle Times

The final rest positions of the transit shuttle bus and passenger vehicle involved in the July 25, 2019, crash on International Boulevard, SeaTac, Washington, are depicted in this photo.

The scene was investigated by members of the Major Accident Response and Reconstruction Unit of KCSO.  And by the National Traffic Safety Board.

Most phantom drivers are not located after leaving an incident site.  But Detective Walford was determined to track down this one. For the next six months, she literally turned over every stone. Det. Walford and detectives with the Major Accident Response & Reconstruction Unit  reviewed the many hours of surveillance videos from the Port of Seattle, local businesses, and any Metro bus in the area. Eventually she found a video that showed the black car improperly merging.   Through social contacts, video, and driver contacts it was determined that the phantom care was likely a ride share vehicle.

Port of Seattle Video Clip

Her next step was to subpoena Lyft and Uber.  Both companies cooperated.  She scoured their computer data for driver locations.  This led her to individually stop and question many possible drivers over the next several months.  Finally her persistence paid off.  Detective Walford located the Lyft driver.

The survivors uphold Detective Walford and her work as being an example of excellence in protecting and serving the community.  By locating the phantom driver, she profoundly impacted the civil litigation of the wrongful death and personal injury cases.

Detective Walford attended Central Washington University which she has designated as the recipient of the donation. Her wish is to further her profession and support a new generation of students pursuing a career in law enforcement at her alma mater.


  • The Family of Bryan R. Panzanaro (represented by The Stritmatter Firm)
  • David Scott Hutchison (represented by The Stritmatter Firm)
  • Stephen G. Clay (represented by The Stritmatter Firm)
  • Jeffrey Cushman (represented by The Stritmatter Firm)
  • Sheryl Foley (represented by The Stritmatter Firm)
  • Oliva Pascua (represented by Adler Giersch)
  • John Weatherwax (represented by McMenamin & McMenamin)

A presentation of the scholarship will take place on July 31, 2023 at 2:30 pm at Central Washington University’s Sammamish Campus, 120 228th Avenue NE, Sammamish, WA 98074.  Some of the survivors will be in attendance.

Stritmatter Firm counsel, in this case, were Karen Koehler, Lisa Benedetti, and Shannon Kilpatrick. Stritmatter Kessler Koehler Moore (The Stritmatter Firm) is a nationally recognized firm known for representing victims of wrongful death, serious personal injuries, and civil rights lawsuits.