Tri-Cities saw two wrong-way accidents happen in the same weekend, local news outlets reported. The first accident resulted in one fatality and severe injuries while the second crash caused serious injuries.
Officials are still investigating what caused the second accident. The first crash, however, was reportedly linked to intoxicated driving.
Saturday Morning Wrong-Way Accident Cause Death, Serious Injury
Just before midnight on Saturday, a 33-year-old Kennewick driver who was coming from the Steptoe Street roundabout entered Highway 240 heading the wrong direction. This put her in the path of a Toyota Camry driven by a 26-year-old man from Pasco. After the head-on collision, the victim was transported to the hospital where he died. According to the Washington State Patrol (WSP), the Kennewick driver was also transported to the hospital and was in critical condition following the crash.
Officials added that the driver is being accused of being intoxicated prior to the accident.
Sunday Morning Wrong-Way Accident Involved Pickup Truck, Semi Truck
The second accident reported in the Tri-Cities area involving a wrong-way driver happened Sunday morning.
Officials stated that a Ford F-250 traveled east in the westbound lanes of Interstate 82 and at about 5:30 a.m., the vehicle crashed head on into a semi truck.
The accident took place one mile from Richland. Law enforcement had to close the westbound lanes of the interstate near Dallas Road for hours. On social media, WSP troopers said that both drivers suffered serious injuries.
WSP officials are still investigating the cause of the accident and have not commented on whether the driver was intoxicated.
Stay Alert, Avoid Wrong-Way Crashes
These accidents highlight the importance of following traffic rules, staying alert, never driving impaired and never ignoring road signs.
While data shows that older drivers are often more likely to experience more wrong-way accidents, drivers who are intoxicated or who are driving at night are also more likely to drive the wrong way. Distraction is also a main factor in many similar accidents.
With the progress that is being made on in-vehicle technology, we will soon see many vehicles fitted with features that provide drivers with warnings when the system detects that the vehicle is going the wrong way. Until that technology is widely available, however, we must do our part to avoid collisions.
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