One of the drivers involved in a multi-vehicle collision on Highway 395 near Colbert Tuesday was arrested on a charge of vehicular assault and is suspected of driving under the influence, court records show.
The crash 9 miles north of Spokane, which Washington State Patrol says was caused by Ryan J. Carpentier, 25, involved four vehicles and injured five people.
The driver of a Department of Natural Resources-owned Chevy Prius, Dale Smith, 51, told WSP he was driving south on Highway 395 from Colville when he saw the rear end of a Chevy Suburban, driven by Jeromey Austin, 46, heading northbound raise up as if it was hit or breaking, according to court records.
Smith said he was unable to react as a vehicle behind the Suburban, a Chevy Malibu driven by Carpentier, moved into Smith’s lane and struck his car head on, according to court documents. The collision caused his car to spin into the middle of the roadway, he said.
A 1993 GMC Tractor, driven by Kyle M. McCrea, 24, then crashed into Carpentier’s and Smith’s car in the southbound lane.
Before the crash, a witness told WSP he witnessed Carpentier’s vehicle swerving within its lane, and then backed off to call 911 to report the erratic driving as the car traveled into oncoming coming traffic, according to court records.
Carpentier was transported to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center by Life Flight with serious injuries, said Trooper Jeff Sevigney, a WSP spokesperson. The hospital listed him in satisfactory condition.
All of the drivers were treated for injuries. Smith, McCrea and a passenger in Smith’s car, Curtis Vaughn, 45, were also transported to the hospital. Sacred Heart discharged Vaughn Wednesday and did not have information on the other drivers.
At the hospital, Carpentier would not acknowledge a WSP investigator’s questions and did not complete a field sobriety test, according to court records. He was arrested just before 8 p.m., and WSP filed a search warrant to test his blood for alcohol or drugs.
The crash closed the highway from about 5 to 10:45 p.m., according to Washington State Patrol.
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