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

UNION GAP, Wash. — Washington State Patrol troopers continue to investigate a crash involving a semi-truck and several other vehicles on Interstate 82 that backed up eastbound traffic Tuesday for several hours.

“We’re just fortunate that nobody was hurt or killed and the injuries that happened here were minor,” WSP Sgt. Rob Morris said.

Morris said it was the semi-truck driver’s quick thinking that helped keep damage to a minimum. He said the driver saw the crash happen and locked up his brakes to avoid hitting a trooper who was still parked on the shoulder.

The truck jackknifed and ended up crashing into the fence dividing the freeway from Rudkin Road, but missed the other vehicles altogether.

“He did the safest thing he could at that time to avoid causing injury or death to other people on the highway,” Morris said. “As far as we can tell, he did the right thing.”

Morris said the incident started about 10 a.m. when a trooper pulled a driver over to the right shoulder of I-82 eastbound near exit 36 toward Union Gap.

“After that vehicle was contacted, the vehicle pulled back into traffic in an unsafe manner and caused the crash,” Morris said.

The vehicle reportedly pulled out in front of a FedEx truck, which moved to avoid crashing into them and ended up getting rear-ended by an SUV. Morris said that’s when the semi-truck braked to avoid adding to the crash.

Morris said the driver who caused the collision is cooperating with the investigation and will likely face criminal charges. He said further incidents like this can be prevented if people are careful when they’re leaving a traffic stop on the freeway.

“We just want people to be aware of that: increase their speed down the shoulder when it’s safe to do so and merge back into traffic safely instead of pulling right out in front of traffic,” Morris said.

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