A car-truck crash killed a Kelso woman and caused a serious backup on Interstate 5 just south of Woodland midday Tuesday.
The accident happened just before noon when a Mercury Mountaineer collided with a tractor-trailer, said Mike Jackson, division chief of Clark County Fire & Rescue.
Theresa Haines, 46, of Kelso, who was a passenger in the sports utility vehicle, died on the scene, Jackson said.
Minutes before the crash, troopers responded to reports of a motor home that spilled debris into all three southbound lanes, said Trooper Will Finn, spokesman for the Washington State Patrol.
Theresa’s husband, Roger Haines, 47, was driving the SUV south in the right lane, when traffic slowed for the debris. He failed to realize traffic was slowing and veered left into the middle lane, striking the rear of an unloaded Kenworth truck, Finn said.
Roger Haines and the truck driver, Jeffrey Aboularge, 30, of Fresno, Calif., were both transported to a local hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening.
Crews closed I-5 in both directions just south of the North Fork Lewis River Bridge so a Life Flight helicopter could land on the freeway, Finn said.
Northbound lanes reopened by 12:30 p.m. and one southbound lane was opened shortly before 1 p.m., according to the Washington State Department of Transportation. All lanes reopened just before 2:30 p.m. but southbound traffic was backed up more than 10 miles to Kalama and didn’t clear up till about 4 p.m., Finn said.
“When we have a fatality involved, it takes a long time to do a proper investigation,” he said.
It appears that Roger Haines was impaired at the time of the collision, Finn said, but the cause and possible charges are still under investigation.
About 65,000 cars go through I-5 at the point where the crash occurred on a daily basis, said WSDOT spokeswoman Heidi Sause said.