KIMA TV reports that Rueda has since been booked into the King County jail on suspicion of vehicular homicide, and that troopers believe he was driving under the influence of either alcohol or drugs when the crash occurred.
UPDATE 2/8: The Washington State Patrol has released the names of the two people killed in Friday's crash. Richard Slightam, 49, and Carmen Lang, 50, both died at the scene. The five other people taken to the hospital after the accident have injuries that are not considered life-threatening. Our condolences go out to the families of Mr. Slightam and Ms. Lang.
UPDATE 2/6: Trooper Chris Webb of the Washington State Patrol (WSP) has announced that the driver of one of the semi trucks involved in the fatal crash Friday morning has been arrested for investigation of vehicular homicide. KIRO 7 news is reporting that the arrest was made after the driver was interviewed by a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) at Overlake Medical Center.
Update: driver of semi-truck car hauler is under arrest for investigation of vehicular homicide. Will update when I receive more info.— Trooper Chris Webb (@wspd2pio) February 5, 2016
The fact that the arrest followed an interview with a DRE strongly suggests that the driver of the semi truck was arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the crash. This is a significant development for many reasons, but primarily because it would likely place the truck driver at-fault for the fatalities and serious injuries resulting from the crash.
ORIGINAL STORY: Two people were killed and westbound I-90 was closed this morning after a fatal crash involving two tractor trailer trucks. The Washington State Patrol reports that the crash involved up to 10 vehicles, and that others were injured in the collision.
Troopers responded to the scene at approximately 6:20 a.m., following reports of a major collision on the pass. There were actually two separate collisions, involving multiple vehicles including two semi trucks. One of the large trucks involved was a commercial car hauler.
At least two people were seriously injured and transported to the hospital after the crash. Two were pronounced dead at the scene.
The Washington State Patrol is turning traffic around at the crash scenes. Westbound traffic is being stopped at Hyak, Ellensburg, and Easton. The westbound lanes of I-90 will be closed for at least several hours, with some reports saying that it will be closed all day.
What to do after a large-scale crash
After a crash of this magnitude, it may take some time for an investigation to determine liability. The first thing that injured victims should do is seek treatment. For those with high medical bills, or for families struggling to pay for funeral costs and dealing with the loss of support from a loved one, it may be time to begin the process of speaking with a personal injury lawyer.
In crashes involving so many possible plaintiffs, and potentially involving the liability insurance of one or more commercial trucking companies, it can be difficult to figure out whose insurance will pay for which expenses. A personal injury lawyer can help you:
- Negotiate with hospitals and other medical providers so your bills aren’t sent to collections
- Determine whose insurance to file a claim with after the accident
- Help you determine how to use PIP (personal injury protection) and UIM (underinsured motorists coverage), services offered by your own insurance company
- Handle the red tape and paperwork associated with opening claims
- Negotiate with the insurance of the at-fault party on your behalf
- Give you advice on how to speak with the media after a news-worthy crash
- Represent your interests in court if your case does have to go to trial
The most important thing to remember is that once a person has been seriously injured or killed in a motor vehicle collision, the insurance companies have already begun working to defend or completely deny their responsibility for the damages that have resulted from the accident. Waiting to consult with a lawyer can only hurt a victim's chances of a successful outcome.
More free resources
At Davis Law Group, we understand how confusing it can be to deal with the aftermath of a massive trucking accident. Here are some completely free and helpful resources that may be useful to crash victims:
- Resources about semi truck accidents
- The Ten Biggest Mistakes That Can Wreck Your Washington Accident Case
- Washington Injury Law: A Reference Guide for Accident Victims
- The Glove Box Accident Kit
- No-Cost, Low-Cost, Or Deferred Payment Medical Treatment For Personal Injury Accident Victims
- Property Damage Claims: Motor Vehicle Accidents
- Insurance Settlement Tactics: How To Navigate The Injury Claims War Zone
- Talking With An Insurance Adjuster: Do’s & Don’ts Checklist
- The Real Truth About Contingency Fee Lawyers
- Unsurance: The Ugly Truth About Unethical Business Practices in the U.S. Insurance Industry
Image source: KOMO News