Two Injured in Wrong-Way Crash on SB I-5 near Highway 101
A car driving north in the southbound lanes of Interstate 5 near the Highway 101 interchange early Sunday triggered a three-vehicle incident that left two people injured.
The Washington State Patrol reports that the incident began around 4:30 a.m., when a 2004 Chevrolet Impala driven by a 78-year-old Olympia woman drove onto the southbound lanes of I-5 via the off-ramp at Trosper Road in Tumwater and started driving north. She got as far as the Highway 101 interchange before she crashed head-on into a 2008 Toyota pickup driven by a 22-year-old Olympia woman in the far left southbound lane. Both vehicles were totaled.
A 2000 Mercedes hit the debris soon after and had to pull off. It suffered minor damage.
The driver of the Impala was taken to Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia for treatment of her injuries. The driver of the pickup was treated at the scene, but didn’t go to a hospital. The occupants of the Mercedes, a 30-year-old man from Centralia, his 27-year-old wife and their two children (aged 4 years and 2 weeks) were not injured.
The two right lanes were blocked for 90 minutes as the scene was investigated and cleaned up. The WSP has cited the driver of the Impala with negligent driving.
As Seattle auto accident attorneys, we are happy to hear that only minor injuries resulted from this wrong-way crash. As age increases, older drivers generally become more conservative on the road. Many mature drivers modify their driving habits (for instance to avoid busy highways or night-time driving) to match their declining capabilities. However, statistics show that older drivers are more likely than younger ones to be involved in multi-vehicle crashes. Research on age-related driving concerns has shown that at around the age of 65 drivers face an increased risk of being involved in a vehicle crash. After the age of 75, the risk of driver fatality increases sharply, because older drivers are more vulnerable to both crash-related injury and death. We hope that the 78 year old driver cited for negligence in this case will exercise more caution in order to avoid the heightened statistics for mature drivers.