Traffic Alert: I-82 E blocked near Yakima Valley Mall due to series of accidents & semi-truck blockage

EVENING UPDATE: Semi-truck crashed into fence to avoid hitting trooper near Union Gap


YAKIMA, Wash. — Commuters passing through Union Gap and the vicinity of Yakima Valley Mall should look for alternative routes after a string of accidents on I-82 East slows traffic for several hours on Tuesday.

Traffic on the eastbound lane of I-82 E will be congested while WSP officials work to clear a semi-truck that jackknifed from the side of the Interstate. Authorities advise that anyone traveling through the area takes N 1st St, or take the Yakima Avenue exit of I-82 instead.

According to the Washington State Patrol, a vehicle was stopped by Troopers near Exit 36 (Valley Mall Blvd) for a traffic infraction sometime around 10:00 a.m. on Tuesday, December 21, 2021. That driver suddenly pulled out on the roadway, causing several accidents behind it. However, that vehicle was not directly involved with any of the accidents that it caused.

WSP told KAPP KVEW that a FedEx driver slammed on their brakes to avoid hitting the swerving vehicle. That caused an SUV behind it to collide with the FedEx truck.

An oncoming semi-truck driver reacted to the accidents quickly, slamming on their own brakes to avoid injuring anyone else. Their semi-truck locked up and proceeded to twist into itself, or ‘jackknife’ on the roadway. Now, the damaged semi-truck is facing the wrong way and blocking traffic on one lane of I-82 E.

That driver suffered minor injuries, as did others. However, WSP hasn’t recorded any serious injuries as a result of these accidents.

WSP Troopers have contacted the responsible party, who may be held accountable for the accidents they caused.

This is a developing news story. An update and/or follow-up may be issued if further details are revealed.

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