TACOMA — The Washington State Department of Transportation and state troopers dealt with a series of at least five crashes early Friday morning on Interstate 5 in Tacoma after a street-cleaning truck was hit by a suspected DUI driver.
No one was seriously injured, but WSDOT called the collisions “horrific” and preventable. According to officials, a WSDOT truck cleaning the interstate was hit and another was struck minutes later. In the next 10 minutes, three more drivers hit vehicles and debris at the scene, including a vehicle set up to block off lanes.
“Everyone working on the highway are spouses, parents, children, siblings and friends — and they all deserve to go home safe at the end of their shift,” WSDOT officials wrote on Twitter. “They are out there improving or repairing roadways to help keep all travelers safe — and they need everyone’s help.”
The first collision occurred at about 12:42 a.m. on southbound Interstate 5 near South 56th Street, south of the Tacoma Mall. Trooper Robert Reyer said WSDOT vehicles were doing maintenance when one was struck by a 21-year-old Lakewood man in a Ford Fusion. At 12:44 a.m., another driver hit a WSDOT truck.
The driver of the Ford Fusion was arrested on suspicion of DUI.
Sometime between 12:44 and 12:53 a.m., a driver in a KIA Soul struck either debris or another vehicle involved in the previous crashes, Reyer said. Moments later, a Lexus driver struck the Ford Fusion that caused the first crash and another WSDOT vehicle.
Then, an unoccupied WSP patrol car at the scene was clipped by a pickup truck driver. Reyer said the collision only scuffed the patrol car, but the pickup truck driver didn’t stop. He said it’s possible the driver didn’t even notice.