Police and medics responded to the scene, outside the Simple Floors store at 16650 West Valley Highway, at about 11:45 a.m. after receiving a report of a car crashing into a building.
"We were just sitting here and heard a loud sound and looked behind us and could see the car rolling right next to our windows," said Dave West, co-owner of the store. "Ran outside and unfortunately saw a gentleman ejected from his car. It was horrific."
Witnesses and police told KOMO News that the car, a 1968 or '69 Buick Gran Sport 400 with a large V-8 engine, was heading north on the highway when the driver veered off the roadway, crashed into a tree and flipped the car over several times.
The tree was struck with such force that it was cut in half and uprooted, indicating that the car was traveling at an excessive speed, police said.
The car came to a stop about 100 feet north of the tree. It came to rest upside down near the paint store, but did not crash into the building.
"We had no idea what was really going on," West said. "It was just a cloud of dirt flying...we just got away from the windows as soon as possible."
The driver, believed to be in his 70s, was ejected from the vehicle and was already dead when emergency personnel arrived on scene. He may have had medical issues.
The car's engine also was thrown 30 feet away from the vehicle, and its rear bumper came to rest on a large plate glass window of a nearby Simple Floors store. Three employees were sitting there at the time of the crash, and they were shaken up by the close call.
"We feel fortunate to be alive," West said.