2-car crash closes Highlands Drive

October 31, 2008

By Kathleen R. Merrill

BREAKING NEWS — 6:11 p.m. October 31, 2008

Numerous police, paramedic and fire units were called to the scene of a two-car, head-on crash Friday evening that closed Highlands Drive and snarled local traffic during the evening commute.

Issaquah Police Deputy Chief Steve Cozart (far left) and other officers work next to a BMW involved in a two-car, head-on crash on Highlands Drive Northeast at 6 p.m. Friday. By Greg Farrar

Issaquah Police Deputy Chief Steve Cozart (far left) and other officers work next to a BMW involved in a two-car, head-on crash on Highlands Drive Northeast at 6 p.m. Friday. By Greg Farrar


The crash,  in the tight curve on the hill approaching Interstate 90, happened at 5:05 p.m.

Paramedics transported two people to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, said Eastside Fire & Rescue Chief Lee Soptich.

One of them was a 21-year-old woman, the driver of a BMW, who was in critical condition, according to Issaquah Police Deputy Chief Steve Cozart. She was heading uphill (southbound) on Highlands Drive, crossed the center line and hit a Toyota Corolla head on, he said.

There were no passengers in either car. When police arrived at the scene, the driver of the Toyota was walking around, Cozart said.

Several fire engines, aid cars, a chaplain and a public information officer from EFR were dispatched to the scene, as well as Issaquah Police and Bellevue paramedics, Soptich said.

Traffic was backed up in several areas, including East Sunset Way leading to Highlands Drive, exits 17 and 18 from I-90 and Front Street South.

There were no signs of alcohol at the scene, Cozart said.

An investigative team from the state Department of Transportation was headed to the scene to take measurements. Washington State Police were directing traffic to Interstate 90, and they blocked traffic on exit ramps going to the Highlands.

Photographer Greg Farrar contributed to this story.

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7 Responses to “2-car crash closes Highlands Drive”

  1. Mark Raya on November 3rd, 2008 1:07 pm

    I am the father of the driver of the BMW. He name is Jennalee Raya and she is 21 years old. After the accident, Jennalee was brought to Harborview and diagnosed with a fractured c2 vertebrae, trauma to the spinal cord, a broken sternum and numerous other thigs that we have not even yet uncovered but she is alive. Lucky to be alive but alive. Yesterday she was in surgery for 51/2 hours to repair the c2 fracture and now starting the process of finding out how extensive the injury to her spinal cord is.

  2. Lori on November 4th, 2008 1:43 pm

    Thank you Mark for letting us know of your daughters progress. I just wanted you to know that Jennalee and your family is in our prayers.

  3. Sarah Auckland on November 4th, 2008 5:38 pm

    Thank you for posting an update Mark. We were probably the 4th or 5th car to come upon the accident Friday and we have been wondering how she is doing. My husband was one of the ones that helped get the fire out on the car and helped until the police got there. Our thoughts and prayers have been with you and your family. Take care.

  4. Mark Raya on November 5th, 2008 10:07 pm

    Jennalee and the Raya family would like to send out our thoughts and prayers to the driver of the other car. We hope they are okay and were not hurt. We also want to say thank you to those who helped Jenna at the scene of the accident and to all those who have sent their thoughts and prayers.

  5. Lori on November 7th, 2008 12:50 pm

    Your are welcome Jennalee and the Raya family. That road is dangerous and I would like to see barriers put there. This is something that I will try to persue.

  6. Kimberly on November 7th, 2008 4:07 pm

    Thank you Mark for posting an Update about Jennalee. I use to work with her at the Hilton. I am Praying for her and the family everyday!! Just Keep you head up, and I promise things will get better. :)

  7. Evelyn Whinston on May 26th, 2009 11:46 pm

    I hope you don’t mind me asking.. but was texting while driving involved? I can’t see a head on happening for no reason..

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