Fatal Crash On I-90 By Snoqualmie Pass Leads To Semi Driver Arrested, Tested For Drug Use

A fatal crash on Friday morning has led to a semi driver being arrested on West-bound I-90. Two people were killed in the collision, and authorities are looking into whether or not the driver may have been under the influence of illegal substances.

The Washington State Patrol says the driver had lost control of the car hauler and swerved across the roadway. It hasn’t been stated if there may have been black ice on the highway at the time. Black ice is what happens when a layer of water freezes on asphalt and makes a nearly invisible layer of ice. At this time of year, semi drivers should always be on the lookout for potential road hazards.


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Seattle Times claims the fatal crash near Snoqualmie Pass involved two semis and six passenger vehicles. Aside from the two killed, five others were taken to the Overlake Medical Center with injuries from the collision, but none appear life-threatening. One of the semis involved was an empty commercial hauler, and both of those dead on the scene had been in the same passenger car.

Washington authorities closed down that portion of I-90 so they could take measurements, figure out who was driving what, and clear the scene. The highway was re-opened shortly after 3 p.m.

In any collision involving a semi, the driver of the truck is always one of those held responsible due to being the most likely to survive. They are controlling a vehicle weighing several times that of others on the road, and often hauling several million dollars in merchandise to a retailer or warehouse. The driver believed to be responsible was the one with the empty car hauler.

In the case of this fatal crash, Trooper Rick Johnson and others investigating it said the driver may have been impaired, possibly on drugs or some medication he shouldn’t have been driving after taking. “We had a drug recognition expert interview and evaluate this driver, and through that evaluation it led to calling for a blood warrant and he was placed in custody for investigation of vehicular homicide.”

Excessive speed was likely the primary cause of the freeway blocking pile-up, as Dan Nelson (the other semi driver) revealed. “He passed me going way too fast. And there’s a lot of other guys out here who said the same thing.”

It is highly suggested that semi drivers maintain a slower speed than most, especially in colder weather, since even a slight turn can cause the trailer to swing wide and cause what is called a jackknife. The trailer skids out of control and ends up causing more damage than the truck would by itself, sliding into adjacent lanes alongside it.

Photos and the video above from Komo News shows one car completely smashed between the semis, and a pickup truck flipped over and sitting next to the semi trailer.

The Washington State Department of Transportation has said that record snowfall from December is contributing to a lot of collisions, including the fatal crash on I-90. Over 50 closures have occurred over this season, and more are likely as avalanches and reckless driving in snow perpetuate the unfortunate trend.

[Image via Tom Lynn/Getty Images]