One person died and three others survived a violent collision along Interstate 90 just east of Issaquah early yesterday. The impact of the...

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One person died and three others survived a violent collision along Interstate 90 just east of Issaquah early yesterday.

The impact of the crash and an ensuing fire was so severe that state troopers initially didn’t realize someone had died, said Trooper Kelly Spangler, Washington State Patrol public-information officer. The name of the person who died, a 26-year-old Bellingham man, was being withheld pending notification of next of kin.

“It was a fireball for an hour,” Spangler said of the 1:13 a.m. crash in the westbound lanes of I-90 about a mile west of the High Point Way exit. Traffic was restricted to one lane westbound for more than seven hours after the crash, with vehicles backed up more than four miles to the east.

It was only after the flames had died out and investigators were able to more closely inspect the scene that a third vehicle and a body were discovered, she said.

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The collision occurred as the semi-trailer truck driven by William Taylor, 42, of Laverkin, Utah, was westbound in the right lane and a pickup driven by Mitchell Zodrow, 27, of Marysville, was traveling in the left lane of the three-lane roadway, which descends down a long, gentle grade toward Issaquah.

“Both drivers say they saw another vehicle at a high rate of speed,” said Spangler, though it wasn’t precisely known what occurred then. It was possible the fast-moving vehicle, an Acura, may have struck the rear of Taylor’s semi-trailer truck, she added.

The semi then collided with the pickup, pushing it against a concrete Jersey barrier on the left side of the roadway.

Zodrow and his passenger, Eric Askelson, 27, of Snohomish, as well as Taylor, all were able to get out of their vehicles, said Spangler, though Askelson was injured trying to get away from the fire by jumping over the Jersey barrier.

In the dark, he didn’t realize the barrier was there to prevent vehicles from leaving the roadway and dropping into a creek below, Spangler said. He fell about 25 feet to the ground and suffered broken bones and was taken to Harborview Medical Center for treatment along with Zodrow, who was hospitalized as a precaution.

Zodrow was later released from the hospital, while Askelson was listed in stable condition last night. Taylor wasn’t injured.

Peyton Whitely: 206-464-2259 or pwhitely@seattletimes.com