A tractor-trailer plowed into a car trying to turn off U.S. Highway 395 on Thursday, causing a four-car wreck near Deer Park that injured five people.
State troopers said at least three of the victims suffered serious injuries.
The collision occurred about 12:30 p.m. near the intersection of U.S. 395 and North Dragoon Creek Road.
A Dodge Daytona headed north on the highway was about to make a left turn when the semi-truck struck it from behind, said Lt. Steve Jewel of the Washington State Patrol.
The impact pushed the Daytona forward nearly 200 feet.
The woman driving the car was badly hurt. Her teenage son also was injured, Jewel said.
The back of their car was crammed with camping and fishing gear. There’s a campground on North Dragoon Creek Road just west of U.S. 395, and it’s possible they were headed there, Jewel said.
After striking the Daytona, the semi-truck swerved into the southbound lanes where it clipped a white Geo Metro headed south on the highway and rammed a red Ford pickup head-on, troopers said.
The force of the final collision crushed the front of the pickup and jackknifed the maroon Freightliner, which was pulling an empty flat-bed trailer.
Two truckers who arrived on the scene, brothers Brian and Randy Bent, said the man in the pickup “split his face open.” He may have hit his head on the windshield, troopers said.
Randy Bent said they pressed a towel to the man’s face to help stop the bleeding.
The man driving the Metro appeared to have sustained cuts to his face from flying glass, Brian Bent said.
The Freightliner driver also was injured, but the extent of his wounds was unknown.
All the victims, whom troopers did not identify, were transported by ambulance to Spokane hospitals, Jewel said.
U.S. 395 was closed in both directions for more than four hours while troopers reconstructed the accident and gathered evidence at the scene. Cars were routed onto rural roads.
Jewel said it was too early to determine if citations would be issued. “It’s under investigation,” he said.
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