3 deadly crashes in 10 hours, as DUI arrests double
It was a deadly Thursday on the roads as the Washington State Patrol (WSP) reported three fatal collisions in just ten hours.
That’s just a snapshot of an increasing problem. In one state patrol district, nearly twice as many drivers were arrested last month on suspicion of being under the influence compared to October of last year. 156 people were cited in that region encompassing the entire Washington coast, inland to Puget Sound.
As far as Thursday’s accidents are concerned, the first collision closed down I-5 for more than seven hours. A suspected impaired driver went off the 130th street overpass, through a construction site, and onto Northbound I-5 hitting two cars.
One passenger, a young woman, was seriously injured and taken to the hospital where she later died of her injuries. The driver was booked in King County Jail on charges of vehicular assault.
The second collision was on State Route 167 just before 11:00 a.m. An SUV driver went over a barrier on SR 16 and onto the eastbound State Route 18 off-ramp hitting a semi.
The driver was believed to be impaired at the time and died at the scene when they were ejected from their car.
The third collision happened on southbound Interstate 405 in Bellevue around 10:00 a.m. The crash only involved one car and is still under investigation, but did involve one fatality.
“Overnight and into this morning were the 54th and 55th deaths in addition to having a young woman still fighting for her life resulting from traffic collisions on local freeways and state highways,” WSP Captain Ron Mead said before the woman in the I-5 crash died making her the 56th death.
“These are  people that won’t be at the holiday table this year. This is, simply put,  deaths too many. And in nearly all of these tragedies, a poor choice on the part of a driver either while driving or leading up to their driving resulted in their death of themselves or the death of someone they didn’t know”
These collisions occurred as new data is released showing that the increase in the number of DUI arrests has nearly doubled in the Puget Sound region.
Nearly half of those arrests were in Kitsap County which saw DUI stops double from September to October. A patrol spokesperson tells us more people are on the roads this fall, so that might be one reason for the higher arrest rate.
WSP Trooper Kathrine Weatherwax said there were 70 DUI arrests in October 2022, double the amount in September. As a whole, District 8 totaled 151 DUIs in October which is a 196% increase from October 2021.
“These tragedies have to stop, but the only way they can is by drivers making better choices. Choosing not to drive impaired. Choosing not to speed. Choosing not to drive distracted,” Mead said.