News

FWay woman killed in Nevada crash

By ERICA JAHN

Staff writer

Two Puget Sound women –– one of them from Federal Way –– were killed in a car crash last month in Nevada, and state police there suspect alcohol was a factor.

Janette West, 45, of Bellevue, was driving a four-door Mercury northbound on U.S. 95 about 3 p.m. Oct. 20 with Yolanda Williams, 28, of Federal Way, and three children ages 9, 4 and 2, when a Toyota pickup, driven by Karen Lane, 44, of Mesa, Ariz. drifted across the center line and collided head-on with West’s vehicle, according to the Nevada Highway Patrol.

Police think Lane might have been driving under the influence of alcohol, though the toxicology tests haven’t returned from the lab, Nevada Highway Patrol spokesman Rocky Gonzales said.

The collision spun West’s car around, and it was struck again by a Pontiac van driven by Susan Bryant, from British Columbia. Bryant, whose age police didn’t know, and her passenger, Henry Bryant, 73, suffered serious injuries and were airlifted to a hospital in Las Vegas, about 90 miles southeast of the crash site.

West and Williams were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash.

The three children also were airlifted to the hospital in Las Vegas, but Gonzales said their injuries were not life-threatening. The children were conscious and alert at the scene, he said. He didn’t know what happened to them once they were transported to the hospital.

Gonzales said police didn’t know the relationship of the children to West and Williams — all three children have the same last name, but it’s different from both women’s last names — nor did police know why the accident victims were in Nevada. A witness of the accident said at least two of the children were sisters.

Police think the vehicles were driving the speed limit, which is 70 miles per hour along that two-lane stretch of highway, and everyone was wearing seat belts.

Police are still investigating the crash, Gonzales said.

Lauren Sargent, an Albany, Ore. woman driving home with a friend after camping in Utah, went to the victims’ aid after narrowly avoiding being in an accident herself.

She said she swerved her motorhome to avoid “a car coming at me head-on. At first, I thought that the car was just passing another car, but then I saw” that it had just collided with a white van. “They were still sliding, and a wheel was rolling down the road.”

Sargent said she and her friend stopped, as did several other motorists. One volunteered to drive back to a small town for help.

“One of the men at the scene pulled the oldest child from the car and handed her to Judi, who stayed with her and tried to calm her until the EMTs arrived,” said Sargent, who directed traffic. “They were also able to get the second child out and took her over to where her sister was. The youngest child had her arm caught and no one could find anything to pry the back door open with. They finally managed to get her out. By this time, she was crying and calling for her mother. It was really heartbreaking because we were pretty sure that both of the people in the front seat were dead.”

Staff writer Erica Jahn can be reached at 925-5565 and ejahn@fedwaymirror.com

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