In a subsequent collision, the engine block of a destroyed CRV was launched into opposite lanes, where it was struck by a passing vehicle.
A series of crashes in both directions of Interstate 5 near Lakewood left three people dead and a police officer injured Thursday morning.
The crashes, including a hit-and-run collision that was responsible for the deaths, blocked all southbound lanes and most northbound lanes near Bridgeport Way, according to the Washington State Patrol.
All lanes were re-opened by 7:30 a.m., according to police, but traffic remained backed up for miles.
The first collision occurred in the southbound lanes just after 2 a.m. when a vehicle driven by a man struck a Honda CRV, causing it to roll and killing two men, ages 30 and 51, and a 44-year-old woman inside, according to the Patrol.
The man drove off, but a witness provided information about the hit-and-run vehicle, and police found it about 3 miles away and saw a woman, later determined to be a passenger, trying to pull off the vehicle’s bumper.
The 23-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of hit-and-run, vehicular homicide, possession of a stolen firearm and driving while under the influence of intoxicants, police said.
It was not immediately clear if the woman would face charges, Trooper Brooke Bova said.
Meanwhile, a northbound driver hit the the engine block of the destroyed CRV, which had been flung into the northbound lanes, Bova said.
DuPont police officers responded to the scene to assist troopers, and one of them was struck by a semi while he was sitting in his patrol vehicle.
The officer suffered injuries to his neck and back and was taken to a hospital.
Seattle Times staff reporter Jessica Lee contributed to this report.