The death toll among people on the road with Bradford Erickson now totals five.
The Spokane man, driving drunk and recklessly in 1983, killed three people.
On Wednesday afternoon, he slammed a Chrysler LeBaron into the back of a cement truck on Trent Avenue, killing his two women passengers.
Police suspect Erickson, 36, was drunk this time, too, but are waiting for the results of blood tests.
After his release from prison, where he served time for negligent homicide, Erickson’s license was suspended for refusing a breath test during a traffic stop.
Investigators found open beer bottles and syringes scattered around the interior of the Chrysler when they arrived at the scene of this week’s tragedy.
“I can’t believe this guy is back on the road,” said Bonnie West, a victims’ advocate for the Spokane chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. “Does this man learn anything?”
Spokane police Cpl. Tom Sahlberg said the two women in Wednesday’s accident, Edith A. Hansen, 20, and Barbara D. Perry, 31, both of Spokane, died of massive head injuries. The two women were sisters.
Erickson remains hospitalized but is considered under arrest on charges of vehicular homicide and vehicular assault. He is listed in serious condition at Sacred Heart Medical Center.
Another passenger, Sidney D. Hansen, 31, of Spokane, also is at Sacred Heart in serious condition, a nursing supervisor said.
Edith Hansen was Erickson’s girlfriend. Barbara Perry was Sidney Hansen’s girlfriend. Edith Hansen and Sidney Hansen are not related.
Police interviewed Sidney Hansen at Sacred Heart. He said Erickson had been drinking before the accident, according to Sahlberg.
“We suspect alcohol and drug involvement,” Sahlberg said.
Witnesses told police the car had been speeding well in excess of the 35 mph limit posted on that stretch of Trent. The car weaved through traffic for miles before the accident, witnesses told police.
One driver told police she suddenly saw Erickson’s car directly in front of her, heading west in the eastbound lane, but the Chrysler veered back into a westbound lane.
Erickson was given a 10-year prison sentence in 1984 for a head-on collision with a Jeep on U.S. Highway 395 north of Spokane.
On June 11, 1983, Erickson was “leap frogging” - passing cars at high speeds - when his southbound car collided with a northbound Jeep driven by David R. Dahlen, 39, of Colbert.
Dahlen and two Spokane men riding with Erickson were killed.
Afterward, Erickson said he was drunk at the time and couldn’t remember the accident. His blood-alcohol level was .16 - a level of .10 is considered legally drunk.
“All I can say is I wish it never happened,” Erickson told a judge in 1984. “All I can say is I’m sorry. I know that doesn’t do any good. If there’s any way I could change it, I would, but I can’t.”
His troubles with drinking and driving started even before that deadly 1983 accident.
Erickson had been convicted five times for drunken driving. He had been cited for dozens of other traffic offenses beginning when he was a teenager.
“I think the community should be outraged,” Sahlberg said.