Local news

Chain-reaction crash on Interstate 90 kills one, injures eight

A tow truck hauls a Prius from an accident at the Interstate 90 overpass at Medical Lake-Four Lakes Road on Wednesday. A passenger in the Prius died at the scene, and eight other people were injured. (Tyler Tjomsland)
A tow truck hauls a Prius from an accident at the Interstate 90 overpass at Medical Lake-Four Lakes Road on Wednesday. A passenger in the Prius died at the scene, and eight other people were injured. (Tyler Tjomsland)

One person died and eight were injured in a chain-reaction collision southwest of Spokane as holiday travel got underway Wednesday morning.

The three accidents shortly after 8 a.m. appeared to have been caused by drivers traveling too fast for the icy conditions, said Trooper Jeff Sevigney of the Washington State Patrol.

“People need to use caution,” he said. “It’s wintertime in the Northwest.”

He said an eastbound pickup truck on Interstate 90 lost control at an overpass crossing Medical Lake-Four Lakes Road.

The pickup crossed the median and headed into oncoming traffic, striking a guardrail on the north side of the freeway and also clipping a westbound semitruck.

After colliding with the pickup truck, the semi continued across the median into the eastbound lanes and collided with a 2009 Toyota Prius, killing a passenger in the Prius. Herlinda Alzate-Barrera, 38, of Mattawa, Wash., died at the scene.

The Prius driver, Marvin C. Williamson, 61, of Moses Lake, and another passenger, Lorenzo Alzate-Rojas, 15, of Mattawa, Wash., were undergoing treatment at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center Wednesday evening.

The semi also hit another car before crashing through a guardrail and down an embankment. The cab came to rest on one lane of Medical Lake-Four Lakes Road.

The truck and its trailer, loaded with heavy metal plates, were sprawled across the embankment and the county road.

Debris was strewn across the freeway and on the embankment. Parts of the trailer’s axle were severed. A hunk of concrete was broken off the end of the overpass guardrail.

Both eastbound lanes of I-90 and all lanes of Medical Lake-Four Lakes Road were closed for several hours. Troopers reopened one of the eastbound freeway lanes about 12:30 p.m. and then the other an hour after that.

Westbound traffic was moving slowly, but stacked up as travelers headed out for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Late Wednesday, troopers and hospital officials provided updates on the survivors.

The pickup driver was Jose Mendoza, 44, with passenger Jonathan Mendoza, 26, both of Walla Walla.

The driver of the semi was identified as Gerry J. Tosoff, 60, with passenger Donna M. Tosoff, 59, both of Chilliwack, B.C.

The second passenger car, a 2009 Subaru Outback, was driven by Larry Yount, 63, with passenger Darla D. Yount, 52, both of Clark Fork, Idaho.

All eight survivors were taken by ambulance to Sacred Heart.

A spokesman at Sacred Heart said Donna Yount had been admitted to the hospital and was in satisfactory condition. The others were being treated in the emergency room. Sevigney said their injuries were not life-threatening.

All were wearing seat belts, troopers said.

After the crash, a separate collision involving a pickup truck and a service van occurred about 9:50 a.m. northeast of the Cheney exit in the westbound lanes, where free-flowing traffic encountered the backup from the first accident.

No injuries occurred in the second wreck, troopers said.

Eastbound I-90 was being detoured through Medical Lake from milepost 264 at the Salnave Road exit for much of the morning.

That heavy traffic wound through Medical Lake on state Highway 902 to the easternmost Medical Lake access to I-90, 8 miles southwest of downtown Spokane.


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