What’s the biggest reason for car crashes in Pierce County? People.
A truck driver who caused a fatal five-car crash in Lakewood was distracted behind the wheel and did not slow down before slamming into the back of a car stopped for traffic, court records say.
Pierce County prosecutors on Tuesday charged Anthony Frazee, 44, with one count of vehicular homicide and two counts of vehicular assault.
He is scheduled to be arraigned Feb. 26.
The collision took place Aug. 31 on state Route 512 near the Steele Street exit.
Motorcyclist Michael Seese, a 39-year-old Puyallup man, died laying down his bike in an attempt to avoid the wreckage.
A mother in the vehicle struck by Frazee’s truck suffered a broken arm and her 7-year-old son suffered a lacerated liver and bruised spleen.
Charging papers give this account:
Frazee was driving a semi-trailer eastbound on Route 512 when he struck a Mazda CX-9, which was shoved forward into a Dodge pickup truck pulling a flatbed trailer.
The pickup was shoved into the back of a Dodge Charger, which then hit a Ford truck.
The impact was so forceful that the Mazda, carrying a mother and her two young children, was pushed out of the line of traffic and struck the driver’s door of the Ford.
Seese was also traveling east when he apparently spotted the wreckage and tried to avoid striking the Mazda and flatbed trailer, which were both in his lane.
After laying down his motorcycle, Seese rolled and hit the wheels or axle of the trailer.
He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Troopers learned Frazee had a camera recording on his dash at the time of the crash and asked him if they could review it.
Frazee told investigators he changed lanes as he approached the Steele Street exit, and traffic suddenly stopped in front of him.
He said “he attempted to stop by applying his brakes to the point of locking up his wheels,” records state.
Frazee also insisted he was not on his cell phone or otherwise distracted.
Later, Frazee’s attorney suggested to troopers that Frazee may have been listening to audio movies and suggested they look for a USB device he used.
Troopers did not find any device in the truck.
A review of the dash cam video showed Frazee crossing the fog lines three times within a half mile before changing lanes and stopping for traffic.
“As traffic came to a stop again, (Defendant) failed to observe this and continued to shift gears and accelerate right up to the point of colliding with (the Mazda), which was clearly stopped in the right lane for the exit,” charging documents say.