JBLM soldier dies after van crashes on I-5 in Lakewood

StaffFebruary 6, 2014 

COURTESY PHOTO — Washington State Patrol

One soldier died and others were injured after a van carrying them to Joint Base Lewis-McChord from SeaTac airport crashed on Interstate 5 in Lakewood Thursday, the base said.

Officials did not immediately release the name of the 28-year-old, who died at the hospital after the crash.

The purpose of the trip was to return soldiers with the 7th Infantry Division to the base, following a recent deployment to Afghanistan, the base said.

The one-vehicle crash happened about 4:30 p.m. on southbound Interstate 5 just north of North Thorne Lane Southwest, the State Patrol said.

The State Patrol said 10 service members and one civilian driver were involved.

Lt. Col. Joe Sowers, Public Affairs Officer for the 7th Infantry Division, said he was told 10 soldiers had been in the crash. His understanding was that five soldiers were injured, one seriously, and that four had been examined and released.

Trooper Guy Gill said the seriously injured man was in stable condition as of 8 p.m.

The driver lost control of the 24-seat vehicle and hit a concrete barrier, knocking over a light pole, Gill said.

The wreck backed up traffic about 7 miles on southbound I-5 and 9 miles on northbound I-5, according to the State Patrol.

Investigators did not immediately know what caused the driver to lose control, but there was no indication the driver was impaired, Gill said.

alexis.krell@thenewstribune.com

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