UPDATE: Reports are now saying that the driver of the pickup suffered a medical condition prior to the accident, lost control, and crossed into the median.
According to the Washington State Patrol, a driver was killed yesterday morning in a fiery accident which was caused by an out of control pickup which veered into oncoming traffic on Interstate 5 near Joint Base Lewis-McChord at around 10:15 a.m.
The driver was identified as 59-year-old Dale Weaver from Jamestown Ohio. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The pickup was towing a U-Haul trailer when it crossed the median, into oncoming traffic, and smashed into a box truck. This caused the box truck to spin around on the roadway. The box truck was then hit by a southbound tractor trailer.
Both trucks burst into flames due to the force of the impact. The box truck’s occupants managed to escape, but the truck driver was killed in the crash.
The pickup truck driver, who was identified as 61-year-old Kim Heidebrink of Sacramento, California, had serious injuries, and was transported to Madigan Army Hospital. He did not appear to be impaired at the time of the accident, and his reason for crossing the median is unknown.
The semi and box trucks were reduced to a smoldering pile of twisted metal, both the trucks were completely destroyed. The semi was loaded with heavy steel, which had to be unloaded and removed from the area before much of the debris from the collision could be cleaned up.
All southbound lanes were at a standstill following the collision. One lane reopened at 12:15 p.m. yesterday.
Traffic was blocked for 13 miles, and the road was reopened around 9:00 p.m. yesterday (Monday).