20-year-old dies in car crash near Yakima Speedway

Yakima Fatal Crash
A 20-year-old man died in a car crash late Tuesday evening down the street from the Yakima Speedway — the third fatal crash in the area in less than two years.

YAKIMA, Wash. — A 20-year-old man died in a car crash late Tuesday evening down the street from the Yakima Speedway — the third fatal crash in the area in less than two years.

Yakima Police Sgt. Jay Seely said the man was driving a Volkswagen Gulf on Pacific Avenue when he tried to pass another car at a high speed using the center turn lane, left the roadway and struck a tree.

“He was killed instantly,” Seely said. “He was only a few blocks from his home at the time.”

Seely said investigators found speed was a factor in the crash and believe alcohol may have been involved.

This is the third fatal crash in the area in less than two years. On Jan. 31, 2020, 38-year-old Gabriel Ochoa failed to negotiate the curve around South 18th Street onto Pacific Avenue and rolled his car into the Yakima Speedway parking lot. He died at the scene.

On April 18, 2020 , 34-year-old Ruth Howard was driving with a 10-year-old girl when she rolled her car near the Speedway. She died at the scene and the girl was taken to the hospital with minor injuries.

“All of those that we’ve investigated there recently have been driver recklessness, speeding and at some point maybe alcohol,” Seely said.

Seely said officers will be increasing patrols in the area, but it’s unlikely that further measures, like putting in a speed bump or changing the speed limit would help prevent similar accidents.

“We will commit resources to the area and work on traffic control but again, these are just anomalies,” Seely said. “We don’t find that people are speeding through that area.”

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