A stretch of Highway 18 in Auburn has reopened following a fatal crash. Earlier, collisions in both directions on Interstate 5, and one nearby on U.S. Highway 2, caused major backups in the Everett area during the morning commute.

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Update at 10 p.m.: The man who died in the crash  on Highway 18 in Auburn was trying to replace a flat tire on the side of the road before he was hit, according to the Washington State Patrol.

The 47-year-old driver of a Ford 550 pickup truck that caused the fatal collision told troopers he “took his eyes off the roadway” before the collision Monday morning, according to a news release from the State Patrol. It was unclear if he was injured.

A 40-year-old man, who had been driving a Ford 350 and hauling a utility trailer, was retrieving a spare tire just before the crash, according to the release. The driver of the Ford 550 hit the utility trailer, which then struck and killed the 40-year-old, the release says.

Medics took a passenger of the Ford 350, who was also outside the vehicle and hit, to Harborview Medical Center with serious injuries.

Authorities found the driver of the Ford 550 was not impaired, the release says. He was released from authorities at the scene.

The incident remains under investigation.

Update at 12:08 p.m.:

Highway 18 from Auburn Way South to Southeast Auburn-Black Diamond Road has reopened, according to the state Department of Transportation.

Update at 9:50 a.m.:

A pickup traveling east on Highway 18 in Auburn struck a trailer Monday morning, killing a man and closing the road eastbound from Auburn Way South to Southeast Auburn-Black Diamond Road.

“As far as we know, something was wrong with his trailer and he stopped on the side of the road and tried to repair it,” Washington State Patrol Trooper Chris Webb said. “A pickup truck hit his trailer, and his trailer hit him.”

Webb said the incident was being investigated, and it would take several hours for the roadway to reopen. He did not know if the driver of the pickup had been detained.

Webb did not have any more details on the man who was killed.

Update at 9:30 a.m.:

The WSDOT truck involved in Monday morning’s fatal accident had its lights activated and was stationary on the roadway’s left shoulder, according to a news release from the Washington State Patrol.

The other vehicle, a 1991 Ford Explorer, struck the cement wall on the shoulder before hitting the WSDOT vehicle. The wreck killed that vehicle’s driver at the scene.

A 25-year-old man in the WSDOT truck was treated at the scene for a minor injury, according to the news release.

Update at 7:40 a.m.:

Traffic throughout the region is backed up Monday morning with a series of wrecks and stalls slowing commuters down, said Andrea Flatley of WSDOT.

On northbound I-5 near the Everett Mall, traffic is backed up for about 5 miles as the Washington State Patrol continues its investigation of a fatal crash.

After two crashes this morning, southbound traffic at the Everett Mall is back to normal — meaning slow, but moving. An early-morning crash on westbound Highway 2 has been cleared.

A stall on the Highway 520 bridge has slowed cars heading eastbound from Seattle. WSDOT cleared the wreck, but it backed up traffic for about a mile and a half.

On average, Flatley said traffic was about 10 minutes slower than normal.

Original post:

If you must travel through Everett this morning, you might want to avoid major highways for now. Three separate crashes are snarling traffic in both directions of Interstate 5 and one direction of U.S. Highway 2.

One collision was fatal. An SUV struck a Washington State Department of Transportation truck just before 3 a.m. on the left shoulder of northbound I-5 near the Everett Mall, killing the driver of the SUV. The HOV lane and two general-purpose lanes are closed as the Washington State Patrol investigates.

State Patrol Sgt. Mark Francis said the WSDOT attenuator truck carrying barricades appears to have been on the shoulder when the SUV slammed into the back of it.

“They didn’t brake at all — just crashed into the back of the truck,” Francis said.

Both vehicles caught fire.

“The car was completely engulfed and caught the DOT truck on fire, too,” Francis said.

The person driving that vehicle was killed at the scene and was so badly burned that troopers were not able to determine the person’s gender, Francis said.

No WSDOT employees were harmed in the crash, Francis said. Only one worker was near the vehicle when it was struck.

Meanwhile, on the southbound side of I-5, two separate crashes blocked three lanes of traffic Monday morning. As of 6:40 a.m., all lanes had reopened.

Drivers in those crashes had minor injuries. One crash involved two cars, and the other involved at least three cars, Francis said.

Another crash, on westbound Highway 2 near Everett, was blocking all but one of that highway’s lanes.

“Hopefully, when we get some emergency crews able to get to that scene, we’ll be able to open that one,” said WSDOT spokeswoman Andrea Flatley.

As of 6 a.m., the backup on southbound I-5 had stretched to about five miles. The backup on northbound I-5 was one mile.

“Everett is a mess right now,” Flatley concluded.