HomeOutdoorsWeatherFreezing Fog, Rain Likely To Blame for Huge 30-Car Crash in Washington State

Freezing Fog, Rain Likely To Blame for Huge 30-Car Crash in Washington State

by Amy Myers
Photo by Lindsey Wasson/Getty Images

Washington state is no stranger to rain and freezing conditions, but this time, the gloomy weather caused a crash involving 30 cars.

According to the Washington State Department of Transportation, the crash occurred on eastbound I-90 and closed the highway about five miles east of Ellensburg at about 5:30 a.m. Washington patrol trooper Collin Cumaravel reported that there were 18 cars and 12 semi-trucks involved in the crash, per CBS21. Road officials expected it to take roughly 10 to 12 hours to clear the crash before they could reopen that stretch of the highway.

The photos from the crash demonstrate a pretty messy scene. Some cars pulled off the road while the rest were in an absolute gridlock. One semi-truck was on its side with packages spilling out of the trailer and onto the roadway and medium. Washington officials suspect that black ice was the cause of the crash. Other dangerous weather conditions at the time included dense fog, rain and freezing rain, all causing low visibility on the highway.

So far, emergency teams sent three people to local hospitals for treatment of their injuries. WSDOT clarified that all injuries were minor. Meanwhile, about 100 miles east, Washington State Troopers responded to 15 weather-related car crashes in the Kennewick area.

Washington Highway Experiences 15-Car Crash Just Three Days Prior

In response to the news of the massive car crash, Washington residents voiced their concerns about road safety and winter weather conditions.

“That’s often a terrifying stretch to drive in winter, with some people quite certain they’re better than the mere laws of physics or laws of the state,” one local tweeted.

Another resident concurred, “As a full time truck dispatcher I can assure you SPEED in those conditions is the main contributing factor.”

This isn’t the only major car crash that I-90 has seen this month. Just three days before the latest crash, WSDOT reported a 15-car injury collision eastbound near Easton (MP 78). According to the official account for Washington’s Snoqualmie Pass, crews had been plowing the roads. It’s unclear what the cause of the accident was or the extent of the injuries sustained.

WSDOT Snoqualmie Pass officials reminded residents that “AWD/4WD still need traction tires: When ‘chains required’ signs are posted, AWD vehicles will be exempt from the chain req. when all wheels are in gear & are equipped with approved traction devices/WAC 204-24-040. And tire chains need to be carried in the vehicle regardless.”

The department has not clarified whether I-90 is clear yet. The district’s latest update comes from State Trooper Cumaravel at 8:35 a.m., informing locals that officials are working to clear the scene. Cumaravel also urged motorists to slow down as icy conditions continue.