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Monday, December 4, 2023
Dec. 4, 2023

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Two hurt in three-car crash on Interstate 5 in Salmon Creek

By , Columbian Metro Editor, and
, Columbian Breaking News Reporter

Two people were injured Sunday in a three-car crash on the shoulder of Interstate 5 in Salmon Creek, according to the Washington State Patrol.

The crash occurred about 6:15 p.m. when driver Craig S. Andersen, 56, moved onto the southbound shoulder south of the Interstate 205 split and crashed his 2001 Subaru Legacy into the rear of a parked 2003 Infiniti G35, which was propelled into the rear of a parked 2016 Cadillac Escalade, according to the Washington State Patrol.

A tow truck, parked in front of the Infiniti and Cadillac with its warning lights flashing, was not struck.

However, the tow truck’s driver, David M. Rios, 42, of Vancouver, was standing between the Infiniti and the Cadillac when the crash occurred and was injured, according to the Washington State Patrol. He was transported to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver. A hospital spokesman said Rios was in critical condition Monday. 

An 11-year-old girl from Olympia who was a passenger in the Infiniti was also injured. Her name and status were not released by the Washington State Patrol, nor was the name and residence of the drivers of the Infiniti and the Cadillac. The State Patrol noted that four children in the Infiniti ages 4 through 13 were not wearing seat belts at the time of the crash.

Andersen, who was wearing a seat belt, was not injured, according to the Washington State Patrol.

The Washington State Patrol said the crash remains under investigation and that it’s unknown if drugs or alcohol played any role in the crash.

A GoFundMe page has been created to help Rios and his family with medical bills. 

Sean McNamee, co-owner of Chappelle’s Towing, said Rios is a wonderful, caring employee who was attempting to help a family with a flat tire when he was injured. 

Rios was in intensive care as of Monday morning; one of his legs was amputated, and he likely has a long road to recovery, McNamee said. The co-owner asked commuters to be more aware of their surroundings, so incidents like the crash that injured Rios do not keep happening.

“People need to slow down and move over instead of riding the white line. It’s the law,” McNamee said. 

State law requires vehicles coming up on a work or emergency zone to slow down and give those areas some space by changing lanes if possible. Drivers are supposed to reduce their speed to 10 mph under the posted speed limit. Tow trucks making use of red lights are included in the law.

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