Crash kills motorists on state Route 18 near Preston
July 12, 2011
By Warren Kagarise
A late-night crash near Preston left two people dead July 6.
The crash occurred on state Route 18 at about 11:45 p.m. after the driver of a black Subaru Impreza, a 65-year-old Snoqualmie man, stopped to assist stranded motorists in a pickup along the right road shoulder at milepost 26 just west of the Raging River.
The truck had two occupants; a 47-year-old Enumclaw woman riding in the vehicle had left to flag down help. The man in the Subaru stopped and offered her a ride.
Then, as the Subaru attempted to make a U-turn from westbound state Route 18 onto the eastbound highway, a tractor-trailer slammed into the vehicle.
Washington State Patrol investigators said the driver attempted the U-turn to reach the stranded pickup just south of the Interstate 90 interchange.
“Making that kind of maneuver would be very high-risk in that area. It’s already very clear by the no-passing zone and all of that,” Trooper Julie Startup said the morning after the accident. “Obviously, not a great spot, and this morning, that did not go well.”
The state patrol later identified the deceased driver as Ronald B. Reinhardt and the passenger as Cheryl L. Bach.
In the moments after the collision, Eastside Fire & Crews worked to extricate Reinhardt and Bach from the crumpled Subaru. Medics then rushed Bach to Harborview Medical Center for treatment, but she died at the Seattle hospital. Reinhardt died at the scene.
Startup said troopers had no indication that alcohol or drugs contributed to the crash. The tractor-trailer driver, a 45-year-old Yakima man, was not injured in the accident.
The interstate interchange at state Route 18 is about nine miles from downtown Issaquah and about five miles from rural Preston.
State Route 18 is a narrow road in the area near the crash. Visibility is difficult because the stretch lacks lighting.
“I’m assuming that probably had something to do with it,” Startup said, referring to the road conditions. “How big of a factor? Probably not huge. We don’t get a ton of collisions in that area that are based on a visibility issue.”
Troopers closed state Route 18 after the accident. The closure and investigation lasted for several hours, and the road did not reopen until about 4 a.m. July 7.
Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or email@example.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.