Three patients are in critical condition after a serious vehicle crash Monday night along southbound I-5 near Federal Way, requiring the assistance of Airlift Northwest.
South King Fire and Rescue crews were dispatched around 7:30 p.m. April 5 to reports of a two-vehicle collision in the southbound HOV lane of I-5 near South 375th Street, said Capt. Brad Chaney of South King Fire.
A 21-year-old driver was traveling southbound when he crossed all lanes of traffic, striking a road divider and then hitting the second vehicle, according to Washington State Patrol (WSP).
Impairment with drugs or alcohol, excessive speeding and improper lane changes were contributing factors to the crash, WSP stated. The 21-year-old man faces charges of vehicular assault.
One of the vehicles caught fire, and though other drivers passing by attempted to extinguish the flames, the front of the car was fully engulfed when crews arrived minutes later, Chaney said.
After the fire was extinguished, crews determined three patients were critically injured, including the 21-year-old driver of the first vehicle, and an 86-year-old man and an 83-year-old woman who were passengers in the second vehicle. The call was upgraded to include two additional medic units and assistance from Airlift Northwest.
The driver of the second car, a 49-year-old man, was uninjured.
Washington State Patrol shut down all southbound lanes of Interstate 5 to allow Airlift Northwest to land on the freeway. One patient was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center while King County Medic One units transported the other two victims.
“Calls like these highlight the partnerships that we have with our community partners of Washington State Patrol, King County Medic One, the Department of Transportation, Airlift Northwest and TriMed,” Chaney said. “Because of our longstanding relationships and the desire to work together, we’re able to provide these services in a timely fashion and, ultimately, make a difference in people’s lives.”