Washington Mourns After 2 Wrong-Way Fatal Accidents This Weekend
Is it just me or does this seem to be happening all the time? Two more tragic wrong-way fatal accidents happened this weekend in Washington State.
Washington State Stunned by Two Separate Wrong-Way Accidents This Weekend
Four, or now possibly five, different people were killed in two separate tragic wrong-way accidents over the weekend in Washington State. Two of the four deaths confirmed include a 31-year-old woman and her 2-year-old son from Olympia. Both fatal accidents this weekend are part of a disturbing trend being seen all over Washington State and wrong-way drivers, with most involving DUI.
Olympia, Washington: Friday, November 10, 2023
The Washington State Patrol got reports of a head-on collision around 11:22 pm Friday night on the southbound lanes of I-5 just north of SR-101 in Olympia. When Troopers arrived at the scene, they found a jeep traveling northbound in the southbound lanes had struck a Chevy Malibu with a 31-year-old woman and her family inside. The woman, now identified as Samantha Denney, and her 2-year-old son Adonis Miller were both killed in the crash. Kiro7 News is reporting that Denney was also pregnant at the time of her death, bringing the loss of life tragically to three if accurate. The unidentified 27-year-old driver of the Jeep was arrested for DUI and will also face multiple charges of vehicular homicide.
Benton City, Washington: Sunday, November 12, 2023
#UPDATE 3 pm 11/13/2023 The Washington State Patrol has updated its assessment of the accident saying 76-year-old David Clark of Prosser was driving west in the eastbound lanes of I-82. The previous report said the wrong way driver 20-year-old Taj Sohi. The story has been corrected below.
Washington State Patrol is also investigating a second wrong-way collision that happened around 2:30 am on Sunday morning on I-82 near Benton City, Washington near milepost 99. A 20-year-old driver, now identified as Taj Sohi from Kennewick, was driving a Malibu in the eastbound lanes just past Benton City when he was struck by a Chevy truck head-on driving west. After the original collision, a GMC truck driven by a 34-year-old man managed to stop as they came upon the accident but a Ram truck also traveling on I-82 driven by a 24-year-old man did not. The Ram truck slammed into the back of the GMC truck and then into the Chevy in the original accident. Both the driver of the wrong-way Chevy truck now identified as 76-year-old David Clark of Prosser, and the driver of the Malibu identified as Taj Sohi, died in the crash. Two people in the GMC survived but were transported to a local hospital and the man in the Ram truck was uninjured. Originally, the Washington State Patrol had incorrectly reported the Malibu driver as driving the wrong way in the accident.
Disturbing Trend in Washington State
This last Sunday morning, I witnessed the aftermath of the crash on I-82 from the other side of the highway. I was driving to the Seattle Seahawks game around 4:30 in the morning and saw the highway still closed as I drove past the wrong-way accident on I-82 near Benton City. Like this last weekend, over a year ago I was first on the scene at a semi versus truck wrong-way accident near that location, again while I was driving to a Seahawks game. Even today, I still get an uneasy feeling while driving in that area or even on any highway at night. Sadly, that area of I-82 has seen multiple deaths from wrong-way crashes, but it is not the only spot in Washington State. It is hard to find accurate wrong-way crash data for Washington State but they seem to be happening at the state level on almost a weekly basis. I could find that there were over 300 fatal crashes in the first half of this year so far, with most involving either alcohol or drugs and speeding. The study shows that driving under the influence, speeding, and distracted or inattentive driving are all big factors in Washington State highway deaths, and are most likely a part of the wrong-way driver trends also.