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Six dead in crashes on Spokane area highways

UPDATED: Thu., May 1, 2014, 8:45 p.m.

Six people are dead following four accidents today on Interstate 90, U.S. Highway 195, state Highway 395 and state Route 127.

A 1996 Dodge Neon driven by Oren E. Pillers of Colfax crashed on State Route 127 south of Dusty in Whitman County just after 3:30 p.m. Pillers, 84, drove onto the shoulder, overcorrected and lost control, according to the Washington State Patrol. He died when his car left the road and hit what is described as a “fixed object.” He was wearing a seat belt.

Another crash occurred just before noon on Highway 195 at Cheney-Spokane Road. Renard A. Faraca, 96, was on Cheney-Spokane Road and turned left in front of a 2014 Lexus LS460 driving south on Highway 195, according to the WSP. Renard, of Spokane, failed to yield to oncoming traffic, WSP said. He was driving a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu.

The driver of the southbound Lexus, identified as Eric A. Sohn of Spokane, was not injured. Both drivers were wearing seat belts.

Work is underway to improve the intersection, according to a previous news reports. The intersection has been the site of numerous accidents over the years, including the death of a 16-year-old girl in 2009, which led to a public outcry for the interchange.

Three Spokane-area young people died in a one-vehicle crash on Interstate 90 about 11 miles east of Ritzville, the WSP said. That crash occurred around 4:50 a.m.

Gabriel L. Johnson, 20, of Spokane Valley was driving a 2003 Buick Century east on I-90 when his car left the road, went over a guard rail and hit a bridge support. He was pronounced dead at the scene, the WSP said.

His passengers, who were both from Spokane, also were killed. They are Mary C. Werts, 21, and Trevor L. Hallman-Person, 19.

Johnson and Hallman-Person were wearing seatbelts; Werts was not, the WSP said.

A little later this morning, a Kettle Falls man died in a two-vehicle accident on state Highway 395 about two miles south of Kettle Falls, the WSP said.

Jay Pratt, 34, was driving his 2003 Kia Rio north around 5:20 a.m., and crossed the center lane, hitting a 2010 Subaru Forester being driven by Debra Lindberg, 59, of Kettle Falls.

Pratt was killed in the accident. Lindberg was injured and taken to Mt. Carmel Hospital. Her injuries were not considered life-threatening.

Both Pratt and Lindberg were wearing seatbelts, the WSP said.

Investigators are still working to determine the causes of all four accidents.