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Motorist Dies On I-90 Despite People’s Heroics Passers-By Lift Jeep Off Man Moments Before Fire Starts

Despite the efforts of passing motorists, a Liberty Lake man was crushed to death by his own car Monday after a wreck on Interstate 90.

Thomas A. Mackay was thrown from his 1984 Jeep Grand Cherokee after he collided with another car then slammed into a trailer being pulled by a semi-truck.

The crash occurred about 9:15 a.m. just east of the Park Road overpass in the Spokane Valley.

The gold-and-brown Cherokee apparently flipped at least once before landing on Mackay in the eastbound lanes, Washington State troopers said.

Several people who saw the crash lifted the vehicle off Mackay and pulled him clear just before the car burst into flames, WSP Sgt. Chris Powell said. The Jeep was reduced to a mangled hulk by the crash and fire.

The motorists tried to resuscitate the 62-year-old man, but he died at the scene of massive head and internal injuries, troopers said. Witnesses covered his body with a quilt as it lay on the shoulder of the road.

“I won’t be able to forget this day for a long time,” said one of the men who tried to save Mackay. The man, who wiped blood from his hands as he walked to his car, drove away without giving his name.

Witnesses said Mackay was driving west in the right-hand lane when he veered into the left lane, striking a 1987 GMC Jimmy driven by 33-year-old Jeffrey Collingwood of Post Falls.

Both cars slid into the median, “shoulder to shoulder,” a witness said.

Collingwood’s car flipped once and landed on its wheels in the eastbound lanes. He injured his hip, back and ribs, troopers said.

His wife, 29-year-old Tamara Collingwood, broke her back in the crash. The couple’s 11-year-old son, Jeff Jr., also hurt his back, troopers said. They all were taken to Sacred Heart Medical Center for treatment.

Mackay’s Cherokee slammed into the semi-truck, which was headed east, witnesses said. The truck driver, 60-year-old Michael Bennett of British Columbia, was not hurt.

The crash scattered debris across several hundred yards of I-90, which was closed for nearly five hours while troopers investigated the collision.

Powell said investigators aren’t sure who was at fault in the wreck. Troopers ask that anyone who witnessed the collision to call 456-4101.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo