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The Today File

Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

February 22, 2012 at 8:07 AM

Wrong-way driver killed on Highway 520 in Bellevue this morning

UPDATE: All lanes of Highway 520 have reopened after an early morning fatal collision.

A wrong-way driver was killed this morning when her car plowed head-on into a dump truck in the westbound lanes of Highway 520 in Bellevue.

The State Patrol says the incident began around 4 a.m. with the 22-year-old Woodinville woman sitting in a Mitsubishi Galant, apparently with its lights off,  in a westbound traffic lane of 520.

She was rear-ended by a garbage truck, a collision that spun her vehicle 180 degrees. The woman then took off driving east in the westbound lanes.

A short-distance later the woman collided head-on with a large dump truck and was killed. The crash was so severe that the Mitsubishi was shoved underneath the dump truck, said State Patrol spokeswoman Julie Startup.

“We’re told by witnesses that at both times, there were no lights at all on the vehicle. Obviously in the dark, it would be very hard to see,” Startup told KING-5 television. “I’m not sure if this [dump truck] driver was very aware it was even happening.”

The impact left widespread debris, Startup said. She believes a section of the highway between 108th Street Northeast and Bellevue Way Northeast will be closed for the investigation and won’t reopen until around 9 a.m. Traffic is being routed off the highway then back on at Bellevue Way Northeast, Startup said.

Startup said that detectives believe alcohol to have played a factor, but she couldn’t say whether investigators smelled intoxicants or saw bottles or cans inside the Mitsubishi.

A small amount of diesel fuel leaked from the damaged fuel tank of the dump truck and got onto the road and into Yarrow Creek. The state Department of Ecology was on the scene to help with the clean up.

 

Comments | More in The Blotter, Traffic & Transit | Topics: Bellevue, head-on crash, State Patrol

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