Issaquah girl, 9, is in critical condition after 14-vehicle pileup
July 20, 2011
By Warren Kagarise
NEW — 4:45 p.m. July 20, 2011
The 14-vehicle pileup along westbound Interstate 90 in Bellevue on Wednesday morning involved six Issaquah residents, including a 9-year-old girl sent to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition.
Just before 8 a.m., as traffic slowed due to congestion near the Interstate 405 interchange at 133rd Avenue Southeast, a tractor-trailer jackknifed into a loaded logging truck in the adjacent lane.
“For whatever reason, whether the semi truck was going too fast, wasn’t paying attention or a combination of the two, for the conditions, he didn’t seem to see that traffic had stopped until the last second,” said Sgt. Keith Trowbridge, a Washington State Patrol spokesman. “At that point, he tried to put the brakes on, but he jackknifed and went into the log truck.”
The impact dislodged the rear axle of the logging truck.
“The log truck continued, because it can’t stop that fast,” Trowbridge said. “All of the logs were still contained by the chains, but now they’re kind of fishtailing back and forth as the driver’s trying to get control of the rig. So he’s basically dragging this load of logs down the road.”
The logs, dragging on the roadway, struck other vehicles as the driver attempted to stop the rig. The dislodged axle from the logging truck and the tractor-trailer also struck other vehicles.
State troopers released additional details about the accident Wednesday afternoon.
In addition to the 9-year-old girl, Issaquah residents involved in the crash included a 49-year-old man, a 37-year-old man, a 21-year-old woman, a 41-year-old woman and a 2-year-old girl.
The accident also involved a 39-year-old Sammamish man and a 49-year-old Sammamish man. Other motorists caught in the pileup came from Bellevue, Everett, North Bend and Snoqualmie.
Medics transported the tractor-trailer driver, a 60-year-old man, and a 33-year-old Everett man to Overlake Hospital Medical Center in Bellevue for treatment.
Troopers shut down most of the westbound interstate until about noon in order to clear the scene and investigate the accident. Crews called in another logging truck to retrieve the logs from the damaged rig.
The lane closures caused a massive backup during the morning commute. Traffic clogged the westbound lanes from the accident scene to the Front Street exit in Issaquah — a six-mile stretch of roadway.
The cause of the accident remains under investigation. Trowbridge said the state patrol intends to inspect the trucks involved in the accident.
“Something like this, you can kind of come to some preliminary conclusions, but they want to rule out every possibility and check through everything,” he said.