CLE ELUM, Wash. — A bus carrying soccer fans forced one car off the road and then slammed into a disabled pickup truck and its driver on the shoulder of Interstate 90 in central Washington, killing two people and injuring 21 others, authorities said.
The bus careened onto its side after hitting the truck after 6 p.m. Saturday, said Washington State Patrol Lt. Scott Martin. The crash occurred near the town of Cle Elum, about 80 miles east of Seattle.
Two people on the bus were killed: Ciro R. Astudillo, 51, and Virginia Ocamposoriano, 45, both of Pasco.
The bus was returning to Eastern Washington following an exhibition soccer match between Mexico and Ecuador in Seattle on Saturday. As the driver, identified as Elmer Schuman, 67, changed from the right lane into the left lane, the bus forced a Hyundai Elantra off the road into the median, where it overturned and came to a stop, the State Patrol said in a news release. A woman and a toddler in the Elantra suffered minor injuries.
The bus then veered back to the right, striking the disabled pickup. The truck’s driver, Jeffrey R. Irmer, 24, of Spokane was standing outside the truck when the bus slammed into it. The accident broke Irmer’s leg and he was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where a nursing supervisor said he was in satisfactory condition Sunday.
Martin said 21 people in all were injured. Most of the injuries were believed to be minor.
Paul Jimenez told Seattle’s King TV that he drove up to the scene just moments after the crash.
“I saw people crawling out from underneath the bus, or being dragged out. I saw people coming out from the top,” he said.
“People were hugging and crying,” Jimenez said. “It’s kind of shocking. I’m still a little bit in shock right now.”
Kittitas Valley Community Hospital in Ellensburg said nine of the injured were treated at its facilities and all were in satisfactory condition.
Martin said he didn’t have any other details on the crash, including how fast the bus was traveling.
The eastbound lanes of the interstate were closed for investigation but reopened by about 1:30 a.m. Sunday.