Never get out of the car.
That was the message Sunday morning from Washington State Trooper Guy Gill after a five-car collision sent a woman to the hospital and snarled traffic on Interstate 5 for two hours.
Icy road conditions, excessive speed and ill-advised lane changes caused the crash at about 9:15 a.m. near the Puyallup River bridge on southbound I-5, Gill said.
There were no serious injuries, but that may have been fortuitous.
“We were lucky,” Gill said.
According to the state trooper:
The crash occurred when one car spun out of control, causing a “chain reaction” near mile post 135.
A few of the drivers involved in the crash got out of their vehicles, and a woman was hit by an oncoming car and trapped underneath it.
“When the weather and road conditions get like this,” Gill said, “we have a lot of collisions, and when people get out of their vehicles it usually results in a fatality.”
This time, that wasn’t the case.
Emergency crews were able to free the woman and she was taken to an area hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening. Others were treated for minor injuries at the scene.
The State Patrol closed three lanes while workers cleared the interstate.
The backup stretched 5 miles before the regular flow of traffic was restored just before 11:15 a.m.
Gill said anyone involved in a crash on a busy roadway should stay in their vehicle unless extenuating circumstances do not allow it. He advised individuals to call 911, if possible, and wait for authorities to arrive.
“People need to understand,” Gill said. “When you spin out, the vehicle behind you will likely do the same thing.”