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Speed, following too close to blame for I-5 multi-car pileup

Traffic backed up for 14 miles Friday morning after several multi-car pileups blamed on speed and following too close. (Image courtesy WSDOT)

Check traffic before you go

Driving too fast and following too close are being blamed for a multi-car pileup that snarled the morning commute on I-5 near Boeing Field in Seattle Friday.

The State Patrol says a driver in the northbound HOV lane rear-ended a car in front of him, triggering multiple collisions.

The first accident on northbound I-5 brought early morning traffic to a screeching halt in Seattle at 6:40 a.m., but it was soon followed by an accident in the southbound lanes, in the same location.

The Seattle Fire Department responded to four separate multi-car collisions on northbound and southbound I-5 at the Boeing Access Road in all.

Just after 7 a.m. the backup reached 14 miles on northbound I-5, just passing I-405. Commuters quickly took advice to take alternative routes and by 7:45 a.m. the backup was only seven miles long.

A second accident occurred in the same location, but on southbound I-5 around 7:30 a.m.

Spokesman Kyle Moore said a 25-year-old man who had to be cut out of the wreckage of one car and was taken to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition. He was a passenger in a car that ran off the freeway.

In all, 30 people were evaluated by medics and 20 of them were injured in all of the multi-vehicle crashes on I-5 in Seattle.

The fire department called in five private ambulances to help the aid and medic vehicles taking victims to multiple hospitals.

The State Patrol says there were four collisions in all, two involved five cars, one four-car collision and another three-car accident. Troopers are investigating whether to cite the driver.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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