State Patrol says Speed a factor in Chain reaction, Fiery crash near I-90/SR 18 interchange

UPDATE |  JULY 20, 2016, 8AM

On July 19, 2016, the Washington State Patrol (WSP) released an accident report for a Monday evening five-car, chain reaction collision that caused two vehicles to burst into blames, nearly taking the life of a 70-year old woman if not for the quick reaction of North Bend resident and off-duty Seattle Police Officer, JD Smith.

According to the report, the five cars involved were traveling eastbound on I-90 approaching the SR 18 interchange when traffic slowed ahead of a 25-year old male driver, which then caused a Ford F150 pickup to collide with a late-model sedan driven by the 70-year old woman – and her car to also strike another vehicle which in turn then hit another car.

The third car involved collided with the car that had initially slowed and triggered the chain reaction – then it left the roadway to the right and struck a fifth car.

The F150 and sedan came to rest blocking the two right lanes and then became engulfed in flames. The other three vehicles involved ended up coming to a rest blocking only the far right lane. In total, the roadway was blocked for nearly two hours. The drivers involved were from Des Moines, Kent and Maple Valley.

According to Q13 FOX News, the injured 70-year old woman remains at Harborview Medical Center, but in out of intensive care. She suffered broken bones and facial lacerations that required 150 stitches.

Two other injured drivers were taken to Swedish in Issaquah and Overlake Medical Center in Bellevue. There is no word on their conditions, but WSP did report on the day of the accident that their injuries were not as serious as the woman’s.

WSP stated the accident did result in some charges, including speed too fast for the conditions, driving with a suspended license and with no insurance.  Their report, though, did not say which driver was facing which charges.

Via email, 5th District State Senator Mark Mullet said he would be contacting WSDOT about the possibility of installing warning near the approach to SR 18 in an effort to warn drivers of the slow traffic that is routine on this stretch of I-90 during afternoon/evening commute hours – at least until the permanent interchange improvements occur.

The state estimates funding those improvements, including flyover ramps and widening SR 18 over Tiger Mt., in 2023. Local lawmakers, though, are trying to push up the funding timeline.


Eastside Firefighters tweeted around 6PM, July 18, 2016, that they were on the scene of a multiple-vehicle collision near the I-90/SR 18 interchange, just west of SR 18 on eastbound I-90. Initial reports said the accident involved three vehicles and resulted in two catching fire, as well as serious injuries.

Crews extinguished the fire with a fast response, but the scene was pretty dramatic for passing drivers. The accident happened right before exit 25 where the lineup of cars waiting to merge onto westbound SR 18 is regularly stretches onto 70mph I-90.

WSDOT said all eastbound lanes were initially blocked as fire and aid responded. Witnesses said some occupants were cleared of the burning vehicles by firefighters and transported by ambulance from the scene.

At 6:30PM, WSDOT said a left lane near the accident scene was reopened, but that drivers should still avoid the area or expect long delays. They suggested eastbound SR 202 or SR 18 as alternates around the area.

Residents near the scene reported traffic was backed up more than two miles.

The Washington State Patrol said one person suffered serious injuries and two others sustained minor injuries in the collision.

According to Bellevue Firefighters Facebook page, Engine 73, 74, 281, Ladder 72, Medic 14, Aid 71, 74, MSO 5, and Battalion 71 responded to the dramatic collision scene, with crews seeing a visible thermal column while en route. Upon arrival victims were cleared of burning vehicles, treated by firefighters and paramedics and then transported to area hospitals

The Snoqualmie Fire Department also responded to the accident.

According to KOMO News, an off-duty Seattle Police Officer on his way home helped pull one person from a burning vehicle.


Collision on westbound I-90 near SR 18 resulted in a large vehicle fire, 7/18/16
Collision on westbound I-90 near SR 18 resulted in a large vehicle fire, 7/18/16. Photo: Henry Mitchell


Accident scene near I-90/SR 18, July 18, 2016. Photo: Charles Henderson.
Accident scene near I-90/SR 18, July 18, 2016. Photo: Charles Henderson.


Extinguished car fire on westbound I-90 near SR 18, 7/18/16. Photo: Henry Mitchell.
Extinguished car fire on westbound I-90 near SR 18, 7/18/16. Photo: Henry Mitchell.


Accident scene near SR 18 on 7/18/16. Photo: Henry Mitchell.
Accident scene near SR 18 on 7/18/16. Photo: Henry Mitchell.



Comments are closed.


  • Good job, Maple Valley idiots. Hopefully the injured party is the one who cut into/pulled out of the stopped traffic. Maybe DOT will finally consider putting in a barrier to separate the last mile of that lane before the exit. Wouldn’t hold my breath though.

    1. Woah Jim, being in the medical profession and “picking the parts up” on many occasions I sure hope none of your family members ever is in some sort of serious accident. If so I hope that you never have to read some Douche hoping that the victims were injured. Karma is a bitch hope it doesn’t slap you to hard, or maybe it needs too.

      1. Jack, people whose selfish and reckless disregard for the lives and safety of others who pull out from a stop into 60+ MPH traffic or attempt to pull into stopped traffic from 60+ MPH traffic and end up in wrecks are not victims. They are perpetrators. The victims in this situation are those who were patiently waiting in line to go home to their families, and they are for whom my prayers are reserved. Seeing every day at that junction people who are narrowly avoiding being killed by self centered, impatient wastes of space has removed any sympathy I may have for what befalls those who engage in such behavior.

        With all the rioting and murder perpetrated by you BLM/Occupy/regressive/anti personal responsibility/permanent victim types, it’s good to see you still have time to argue on the Internet.

  • Jim & Jack, I was at this exact spot yesterday & a car almost swerved into me trying to cut in, he then proceeded to flip me off. Some people are rude, mean, dumb-ass cut in at the last minute… but in the end we are supposed to try to just love one another, and if everyone tried just a little then this world would be a much better place. I thought the guy was cute until he flipped me off… there is nothing cute about mean people!! p.s. karma does not have to be a thing if you just try to be nicer than you were yesterday!!!

  • as i understand it, the “fix” for this intersection is not even in the 6 year wsdot plan. meaning–the soonest we are going to get anything done to solve this extremely dangerous situation is beginning work on the interchange/highway 18 in 2023. it is outrageous.

  • Warning signs? Seriously? You really think that would have prevented this incident (and other less serious) from occurring? There’s a sign at the bottom of the off ramp that says “no right turn” for the lanes the are supposed to turn left to go into Snoqualmie yet I regularly see selfish idiots turn right to go down 18 and bypass the backup. Signs do not stop illegal behavior. Where do most shootings occur? Behind the signs posting “gun free zone.” smh. 2023 to fix this mess gives plenty of opportunity for not injuries and possibly fatalities.

  • two ideas to address this situation . . .
    1. on i 90 separate the right exit only lane 1 mile before the exit. move that lane slightly to the right (yes, onto part of the shoulder). separate with painted line and pylons. also . . . make it harder and clearly illegal to turn right onto 18 from the left turn exit to snoqualmie parkway.
    2. give highway 18 2 lanes going west from i90 over the hill to right before the raging river bridge. this will get about 4/5 of mile of traffic off of i90 and more because traffic speeds up going down hill to the bridge where cars would merge. this would not cost that much–no bridges, just a lane to add, and would significantly cut back on the cars stopped on i90.

    1. Also, post cameras to catch the illegal right turn (and, just past the underpass, the illegal U-turn) ‘artists’ and then fine them. If Issaquah High School can have speed-trap cameras, then so can the I-90/18 interchange…

  • Speed too fast for conditions, suspended license, no insurance. Any bets? Occam’s Razor.

    1. Obviously it’s the person who slammed into this poor 70 year old woman. Was it a DUI? Was it Pokemon? Or just some wreckless idiot who has no decency, common sense, or concept or concern for others. Everyone, including the perpetrator of this accident is LUCKY nobody died on scene and that nobody was sitting in the back of that sedan. I hope the seriously injured victim recouperates to an acceptable quality if life. Why is it that this wreckless driver hasn’t been arrested?

  • I see a lot of excellent recommendations, another short term solution:
    (During peak hours 3:00 – 6:00 Monday through Friday)
    (1) State highway patrols to physically direct incoming traffics from I-90 east/west into highway 18. (the two traffic lights are inefficient during these times) they will speed-up the flow of traffic and cite traffic violators as well.
    (2) Suspend traffic from Snoqualmie to highway 18 (including I-90 eastbound) most of these vehicles are the results of the U-turns. Snoqualmie vehicles going to eastbound I-90 can go around highway 202.

  • Yes, the I 90/18 is a hot mess that will take years to re-engineer and configure, but until then there are a few tweeks that could help traffic flow! Traffic monitoring by either camera or officers to keep the “repeat cheaters” from being rewarded for cheating. There should be a “No turn on Red” for the traffic coming off of I 90 heading onto hwy 18 to allow for traffic to flow off of westbound I 90 and snoqualmie residents to be able to cross over to echo lake and hwy 18. Some might say that by preventing traffic to turn on red that I 90 would get even more backed up, but if you then created a longer green light for the hwy 18 then you would be eliminating some of the parkway back-up along with the double lanes backing up on westbound I 90. 202 is an option for ridge residents to get to north bend, but there is no other option for snoqualmie/north bend residents to get to hwy 18 or echo lake without sitting in 45-60 minute traffic. School buses sometimes wait up to 1/2 hour at the light just to drop kids off at echo lake (school is dismissed at 3:25 and sometimes kids aren’t dropped till 4:30 due to pkwy traffic trying to cross under I 90. Signage with early warnings about right lane only exit to hwy 18 to prepare people sooner for back up. Physical lane dividers starting back after Preston exit to allow up coming traffic to pull over right going up hill to eliminate lane merging from parkway lanes to hwy 18 lanes. A “no u turn ” sign placed at intersection of I 90 westbound entrance to keep “cheaters” from filling up the lanes crossing under I 90 trying to get to hwy 18. There are many ideas out there that could help make the traffic flow more efficiently, but the residents of the Snoqualmie Valley need temporary solutions to take place till permanent projects are completed. Even with the massive snoqualmie ridge development, traffic would flow just fine off of the ridge and westbound I 90 if the massive numbers of commuters weren’t having to commute to maple valley, Kent, Enumclaw, Auburn, ….. by using a two lane state highway that has been outdated and neglected for years.

  • Too late to comment? Ha, it’s only been over a year ago.
    This had nothing to do with the victim doing any illegal driving. She was stopped in the flow of traffic in the right lane. The truck plowed into her, causing the collision. It cracks me up with some of these comments here. I assume they’re done out of anger, which I understand, but understand this- The victim did NOTHING wrong. Luckily she recovered quite well, considering.
    Next point:
    Every day, during the 3-4 hour rush hour traffic, or all day on weekends and holidays, countless of close calls occurs w/b and e/b I-90 at these areas, not to mention the actual collisions that do occur. Why is it not a priority? If they say its lack of funds, well they’ll have less funds by the time the lawsuits
    are over after more serious injuries or deaths! Am I wrong?
    BTW, I approve this message:)
    Officer John Smith

  • Living Snoqualmie