KENNEWICK — A 21-year-old Othello man died in a five-vehicle pileup after a pickup plowed into a line of stopped vehicles on Highway 17.
The southbound traffic was stopped for a Washington state Department of Transportation project to clear ditches about 12:45 p.m. Monday near Mesa, the Washington State Patrol said.
A 2008 Dodge Ram pickup rear-ended a waiting Honda Civic, setting off a chain reaction on the rural two-lane highway in northern Franklin County.
Investigators are still trying to determine why Nicholas L. Abbot, 28, of Othello, didn’t stop, according to a WSP news release on the crash.
The collision killed Jesus Camacho-Augustin, a passenger in the Civic. The state patrol said he was not wearing a seat belt.
The Civic’s driver, Valentin Galvez-Gonzalez, 24, of Othello, and the two other passengers, Estella DeJesus Gonzalez, 31, of Othello, and a juvenile were taken to Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland.
The Civic was pushed into a Hyundai Sonata, sending the driver, Anthony J. Mawer, 23, and his passenger, Camden J. Love, 23, both of Vancouver, Wash., to Othello Community Hospital.
The Sonata was pushed into a Hyundai Tucson, which then hit another Honda Civic. No one in the other cars was hurt.
Abbot was taken to Trios Southridge Hospital in Kennewick, according to the state patrol. At this point, the state patrol is trying to determine if charges should be filed.
The crash left both lanes blocked for nearly five hours while police investigated, said the Washington State Department of Transportation. A detour was set up onto Highway 260.
Highway 17 is a two-lane highway that stretches between Mesa and Okanogan, and serves as the main connection between the Tri-Cities and Moses Lake.