Officials were investigating the collision early Friday morning on Highway 167 as a possible vehicular assault.
Four people were injured in an overnight collision that brought Friday morning traffic on Highway 167 in Auburn to a near standstill as emergency personnel investigated.
The crash occurred at about 2 a.m. on northbound Highway 167 near 37th Street Northwest and damaged three vehicles, said Washington State Patrol Trooper Chris Webb, spokesman for the agency. One victim is in critical condition, he added.
Troopers were investigating the incident as a possible felony vehicular assault, Webb said. Officially, the cause is still under investigation, and no charges had been filed as of midmorning Friday.
An 18-year-old man was driving a Mercedes up the highway “at a high rate” when he lost control of the car and hit a Dodge Journey in the next lane over, according to a State Patrol report. The Dodge rolled multiple times and landed on its side in a ditch, and the Mercedes stopped facing sideways two lanes over from where it had been traveling, according to the report.
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The Mercedes’ driver, who was not wearing a seat belt, was in critical condition at Harborview Medical Center’s intensive-care unit as of 3 p.m. Friday.
Two of the Mercedes’ three teenage passengers were injured. A 16-year-old boy — the only passenger wearing a seat belt — was taken to MultiCare Auburn Medical Center, and a 17-year-old boy was taken to Harborview.
The two people in the Dodge, both in their 60s, were injured and taken to MultiCare Auburn Medical Center. Neither was wearing a seat belt, according to the State Patrol report. The passenger, a 63-year-old woman, was still at the hospital but in satisfactory condition as of 3 p.m. Friday.
Debris from the collision hit and damaged a third car, a Honda Accord, but the Honda’s driver was unhurt.
The Mercedes and Dodge were both totaled.
By 6 a.m. the traffic backup stretched to 6 miles. When the crash scene was cleared from the highway around 7:45 a.m., traffic approaching the area was still at a crawl for more than 3 miles.
The State Patrol issued a news release Friday afternoon citing the crash as the first injury collision of the holiday weekend.
“It’s our goal that our residents and visitors alike are able to travel safely this holiday weekend,” Capt. Ron Mead, District 2 (King County) commander, said in the release. “Our troopers and law enforcement partners will be working tirelessly throughout the weekend to ensure the safety and security of all those who travel on our highways. Rest assured we will have zero tolerance for drunk driving and other unsafe driving behaviors.”
Speed was noted as a factor in Friday morning’s crash; it was unknown whether drugs or alcohol were involved. Speed is the third-most common contributing factor in deadly crashes in Washington state, according to the news release.