UPDATE: Victims identified in fatal crash near B.G.

Weather a factor in head-on collision on Highway 503

By Patty Hastings, Columbian breaking news reporter

Published:

Updated: January 1, 2013, 2:14 PM

 

UPDATE (2:15 p.m. Tuesday): Police have identified the woman killed in Monday's crash as Jennifer Swartz of Battle Ground. She was driving a 1999 Chevy Tahoe that also carried Peter Swartz, who was transported to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center.

The three girls in the Nissan Pathfinder were identified as 17-year-old Katrina Tikka of Amboy, who was driving, 17-year-old Wendi Hallstrom of Yacolt, and 16-year-old Megan Tikka of Amboy. Two others in a third vehicle behind the Tahoe were not injured.

Original story:

A 33-year-old Battle Ground woman died and three girls were seriously injured Monday evening in an icy head-on collision one mile south of Battle Ground on state Highway 503.

The accident happened just before 7 p.m. on the bridge that crosses over Salmon Creek, at about 165th Street.

Washington State Patrol Trooper Stephen Robley said this is what happened:

A Nissan Pathfinder with what Robley believed was a 17-year-old girl at the wheel was southbound on the slick highway when the SUV crossed the centerline and collided with a northbound Chevy Tahoe. The woman who died was in the Tahoe, as was a male passenger who was taken to a local hospital.

The three girls in the Nissan, all described as younger than 18, also were taken to a local hospital.

An Acura following the Tahoe slid under the Tahoe during the collision. Two men in their early 20s were in the Acura and were not thought to be seriously injured.

Robley said alcohol or drugs were not suspected as factors in the crash.

Fourteen firefighters from Clark County Fire & Rescue, Fire District 3 and the Vancouver Fire Department were dispatched to the scene around 7 p.m., along with four AMR ambulances, according to Battalion Chief Tim Dawdy with CCF&R. Life Flight helicopters were also called out, but later canceled. Crews had to use the Jaws of Life to extricate trapped victims from the vehicles. One victim was dead at the scene, Dawdy said.

The names of those involved were not released.

The highway was closed for about three hours from Northeast 149th Street to Northeast 179th Street while emergency crews worked at the scene.

Dawdy said weather was definitely a factor in the crash.

“Bridges often freeze quicker and are more hazardous,” Dawdy said.

He urged drivers to slow down when the roads are icy.

The Washington State Patrol is investigating.