SNOQUALMIE PASS, Wash. - Two people were killed and five were injured Friday morning in a serious crash involving eight vehicles that closed westbound Interstate 90 near Snoqualmie Pass for several hours, the Washington State Patrol reports.
The driver of one of the semi trucks involved in the crash was later arrested for investigation of vehicular homicide.
Troopers responded at about 6:20 a.m. after receiving reports of a major collision at the scene, on the state's primary east-west route over the Cascade Mountains.
Arriving at the scene, they found two semi-trucks and six other vehicles had crashed. One of the semi rigs was an empty commercial car hauler.
"From jersey barrier to jersey across the road like a barricade totally across the road," said witness Keith Cannon.
Two people were pronounced dead at the scene. Both were in the same passenger car. Five others were taken to Overlake Medical Center by ambulance for treatment of injuries.
Trooper Rick Johnson said later Friday morning their investigation has led them to arrest the driver of the car hauler for investigation of vehicular homicide. He was believed to be impaired at the time of the crash, state troopers said.
"We had a drug recognition expert interview and evaluate this driver, and through that evaluation it led to calling for a blood warrant and he was placed in custody for investigation of vehicular homicide," Johnson said.
Troopers say they believe the driver of the car carrier was traveling west and lost control before veering across all lanes of traffic and coming to rest in the roadway. This caused a chain-reaction crash that completely blocked all westbound lanes of the freeway.
Truck driver Dan Nelson said he saw the car hauler pass him on the east side of the pass.
"He passed me going way too fast," Nelson said. "And there's a lot of other guys out here who said the same thing."
KOMO News video footage from the scene showed one smaller car completely smashed between larger vehicles. Troopers placed a yellow tarp over the car.
A State Patrol photo also showed a pickup truck on its top against the side of a semi trailer.
Seventeen miles of the freeway were closed for much of the day between Milepost 54 and the Easton exit for the investigation and cleanup. State transportation officials were able to reopen the lanes just after 3 p.m.
WSDOT officials say this closure marks more than 50 this winter season. WSDOT says blame record snow in December which means more avalanche control work, more closures and more accidents like the deadly crash that happened Friday.