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Several injured in fiery pileup on Wash. interstate

A Washington trooper called the scene confusing, involving several vehicles and people, some who fled the scene

By Martín Bilbao
The Olympian

LACEY, Wash. — Several people were injured in a fiery, three-vehicle car wreck on Interstate 5 in Lacey early Thursday morning.

The collision occurred at about 12:20 a.m. by milepost 111 near the Marvin Road Northeast exit, Trooper John Dattilo told The Olympian. He described it as a confusing scene that involved three cars and multiple people, some of whom fled from the wreck.

“We’re still trying to figure out where everyone was,” Dattilo said. “It was a really hectic scene and we were trying to prioritize scene safety and then contacting everyone that was there, making sure they were OK, and then figuring out who left.”

So far, Dattilo said WSP knows three vehicles were involved and two caught fire. All occupants got out of the three vehicles before fire engulfed the two vehicles, but several people were hospitalized with serious, non-life-threatening injuries, he said.

Two of the three drivers stayed at the scene after the collision but several occupants from multiple vehicles fled, including the driver of one of the vehicles, Dattilo said.

“The driver of the causing vehicle is one of the people that fled and we have not yet been able to make contact,” Dattilo said.

Law enforcement contacted three passengers who fled the scene shortly after the collision, Dattilo said. None were arrested.

“None of them were drivers of any of the vehicles,” Dattilo said. “Passengers don’t necessarily have a legal obligation to stay on scene. They should so we can help them, but so far, no charges, no arrests.”

Dattilo said Lacey Police officers, Thurston County Sheriff’s deputies and State Patrol aircraft helped locate the three occupants who left the scene.

Sheriff Derek Sanders was among them. He shared his account of the incident on Facebook about an hour after it occurred.

Sanders said he observed the multi-vehicle collision on I-5 as he was looking for a vehicle that fled a traffic stop. He said he saw a vehicle fully engulfed in flames and a man fleeing the scene toward Fortune Casino in Lacey.

” Lacey Police and I were able to ensure that everyone escaped the fire while a county deputy caught the two fleeing individuals at the casino,” Sanders said in his post. “A victim and their child in the other car survived the crash.”

Sanders said deputies shut down the highway to make way for firefighters. He said the State Patrol is investigating and “it sounds like impairment is suspected.”

Dattilo said the highway was closed for about five hours following the collision. The cause of the crash and many other details are still under investigation, he said.

Anyone with information about the incident and the unaccounted-for driver can contact State Patrol at 253-538-3240.

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