Interstate 90 traffic was snarled for much of the evening Friday as officials responded to two emergencies that sent five people to hospitals.
In the worst of the two for drivers, westbound I-90 was shut down about 7 p.m. after an SUV rolled over near the Barker Road exit in Spokane Valley. Initial reports indicated three people were thrown from the vehicle, a Washington State Patrol dispatcher said.
The wreck prompted a criminal investigation. Witnesses told investigators a pickup may have cut in front of the SUV, causing the crash, said Sgt. Lennie Walker of WSP. Depending on the outcome of the investigation, the driver of the other vehicle could face criminal charges.
Drivers and nearby residents gawked as a helicopter landed on the closed freeway about 7:30 p.m. to airlift one person to a hospital. Traffic backed up as emergency crews worked the scene. At 8 p.m., officials opened the left shoulder to let motorists trickle by the one-car crash, and all lanes were not reopened until about 10:30 p.m.
The airlifted person reportedly had not been wearing a seat belt and was in critical condition late Friday, according to the State Patrol. The other two were in stable condition at a hospital.
Names were unavailable late Friday because troopers were still on the scene, but a dispatcher said the vehicle had a Georgia license plate.
Earlier in the evening, troopers closed I-90’s Division Street exit for nearly two hours while Spokane police investigated a domestic disturbance gone awry. At one time, the freeway was backed up past Altamont Street.
Just after 5 p.m., a man and woman were fighting in a car in front of the U-Haul depot on Division Street and Third Avenue, said police Officer Tracie Meidl. The woman stopped the Chevrolet Lumina, and the man tried to get something from the trunk.
The woman sped away, dragging the man for several blocks as he hung from the trunk, Meidl said. He broke free at Pacific and Division.
The man suffered serious head injures and underwent a CT scan at a hospital, Meidl said. The woman was taken to a hospital for a wrist injury.
Police closed off several blocks between Division and Cowley streets, from Third to Pacific avenues, as investigators took pictures and talked to witnesses. Nobody was arrested late Friday because police had not finished their investigation, Meidl said.