Driver dies in fiery tractor-trailer crash on Tiger Mountain

September 25, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

Flames engulfed a tractor-trailer early Sept. 21, as a crash near the Tiger Mountain summit along state Route 18 left the 60-year-old driver dead.

Washington State Patrol investigators identified the driver as a 60-year-old Pacific man but did not release his name, pending notification of family members.

Police said the accident occurred as the FedEx rig, a tractor hauling a pair of trailers, veered off the westbound lanes about six miles southeast of downtown Issaquah at about 6 a.m. Sept. 21.

The truck struck a tree about 20 feet from the road shoulder and then burst into flames. Fire engulfed the cab and spread to surrounding brush and trees.

The initial state trooper on the scene approached the cab, but could not see or hear signs of life from inside the burning vehicle.

“It has been pretty clear by the witnesses that the vehicle basically drifted off the road or drove off the roadway,” said Trooper Julie Judson, a spokeswoman for the agency.

Investigators could not determine if the driver fell asleep or suffered a medical problem before the accident occurred. The way the accident unfolded appeared as though the driver lost consciousness “or something to that effect, because of the way the vehicle drifted off the roadway,” Judson added.

Troopers investigated the crash and closed a westbound lane from the scene to Interstate 90 for more than 90 minutes. Troopers reopened the lane just before 8 a.m., but remained at the scene as a tow truck removed the rig from the roadside.

The blaze did not damage the trailers or the packages inside.

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