In dark hours of an early winter morning, truckers are eager to miss rush hour traffic as they are headed out on their routes. Dispatchers advised that a winter weather advisory was expected. The temperature hovered right around freezing on the east side of the Snoqualmie Pass.
It was just before 5 a.m. when a dump truck and trailer carrying treated sewage hits a patch of ice.
The trucker had set his cruise control at 62 mph. He was attempting to merge from the right to the center lane, and lost control of the truck. He overcorrected his steering, swerving back across the highway. He hit a concrete barrier, and the truck and trailer tipped over on the passenger side, spilling the load of human waste.
The fatal truck crash
Every lane of the highway was covered in sewage and blocked by the trailer.
A second tractor-trailer came up upon the scene. Unable to stop, and with all lanes blocked, the trucker sideswiped a pickup and then struck the trailer, causing the sewage to spread further across the lanes of traffic.
The driver of the third semi-truck was able to avoid a collision with the other vehicles by veering to the left and into the snow-covered median.
The driver of the fourth semi was unable to stop, due to the slick road conditions caused by the sewage on the highway, and struck the trailer of the third truck.
That driver, Mark, was pinned in the cab of his truck due to the force of the impact.
He was conscious while other drivers coming up on the hellish scene called 9-1-1. He stayed awake while first responders tried to free him from the truck cab. Although he had suffered extremely serious injuries, Mark was worried about the others involved in the collision, and asked rescuers to go check on them.
Tragically, they were not able to save Mark’s life. He died from a brain hemorrhage, and multiple fractures and lacerations, shortly after being freed from the semi-truck.
Photo from the scene of the fatal truck crash on I-90, east of Snoqualmie Summit. Photo by WSPD Trooper John Bryant, via Twitter.
Photo from the scene of the 6-vehicle collision on I-90, from WSDOT Snoqualmie Pass Twitter.
Investigating the crash
After Mark’s death, I had the privilege of representing his family along with attorney Lincoln Sieler of the Friedman Rubin law firm. We undertook a detailed investigation into the collisions, with the help of various trucking experts.
Investigating a fatal truck crash is a serious matter. While law enforcement officers try to document the scene and causes, they have very limited time—especially in situations like this