TACOMA — Six people were killed and another was in critical condition after a two-car crash late Sunday morning on Highway 509 in the Tacoma Tideflats, by the port, according to the Washington State Patrol. Two other people were injured in the crash but are now in stable condition.
State Patrol Trooper John Dattilo said a major accident investigation team was deployed to the scene near Alexander Avenue around noon Sunday. Friends and family of those killed in the crash also showed up to the scene, Dattilo said.
The crash, reported around 11:17 a.m., was blocking northbound 509 and drivers were told to expect hourslong road closures Sunday. In addition to State Patrol, officials from the Fife Police Department, Fife Public Works and the state’s Department of Transportation were on site to help with traffic control, Dattilo said.
Five people were confirmed dead at the scene, Dattilo said, and a sixth was later pronounced dead. Dattilo said it was unclear if that person died at the site of the crash or while being transported to the hospital.
Seven people in a gray 2021 Kia Forte hatchback were traveling east on Alexander Avenue and two others in a white BMW SUV were headed north on 509 when the BMW T-boned the Kia in the intersection, according to troopers. The Kia caught fire after the crash, Dattilo said. It’s unclear if the flames or smoke contributed to the passengers’ deaths or injuries.
“I can’t confirm any single violation that would have caused this crash,” Dattilo said, noting that detectives will be looking for surveillance video. “It’s going to be under investigation, probably for a while.”
The six people who died — three men and three women — were inside the Kia, along with the person in critical condition. Four of them were between the ages of 19 and 25, all from Arizona. Ages and hometowns were not released for the other two. Those killed were:
- A 19-year-old woman from Phoenix.
- A 21-year-old man from Phoenix.
- The female driver, whose age and hometown were not released.
- A 22-year-old man from Phoenix.
- A 25-year-old woman from Tuba City.
- A 25-year-old man from Kayenta.
The victims’ names have not been released because not all next of kin have been notified.
The BMW carried a man and woman in their 40s from Tacoma.
The relationships between the passengers in each car wasn’t immediately clear.
State Patrol has asked anyone who may have witnessed the crash or have dashcam footage of the surrounding area around 11 a.m. to contact Detective Michael Pry at 360-827-1401.
The crash was one of two serious incidents in Tacoma on Sunday: Around 1:30 a.m., about eight other people were injured in a separate two-car crash, including four who were in serious condition and another who suffered life-threatening injuries, according to the Tacoma Police Department.
A witness told police that a driver was racing another car above the speed limit through the curves of Marine View Drive in Northeast Tacoma before hitting a third, uninvolved car head-on. Officials shut the road for hours and are looking for the second car involved in the race. No one has been arrested or charged, police said.
Law enforcement officials were also investigating a third crash late Saturday evening, on Interstate 90 near Highway 18, that resulted in the death of a 30-year-old Maple Valley man — and injuries to two others that required transport to hospitals.
“People need to slow down, be patient with other drivers and operate their vehicles in a safe and prudent manner,” Tacoma police spokesperson Detective William Muse said. “All these accidents in just this short period of time, this weekend, is completely preventable … if people would just pay attention, slow down and be patient.”