Traffic

Wreck leaves woman in coma, closes SR 512 for hours

A smashed car and a semitruck sit on state Route 512 on Thursday afternoon after being involved in a three-vehicle wreck that snarled traffic on the highway and Interstate 5 for hours. The semitruck driver was arrested on suspicion of vehicular assault, according to the Washington State Patrol.
A smashed car and a semitruck sit on state Route 512 on Thursday afternoon after being involved in a three-vehicle wreck that snarled traffic on the highway and Interstate 5 for hours. The semitruck driver was arrested on suspicion of vehicular assault, according to the Washington State Patrol. Courtesy

A semitrailer driver was arrested on suspicion of vehicular assault after a crash in Lakewood that left a woman in a coma and snarled state Route 512 and Interstate 5 for hours Thursday, according to the Washington State Patrol.

The crash happened on Route 512 about 1:45 p.m., State Patrol spokesman Todd Bartolac said.

A westbound truck without a trailer, driven by a speeding driver believed to be under the influence of intoxicants, hit the back end of a Toyota Prius, Bartolac said. The Prius was sent across traffic and into the side of an oncoming pickup truck and started a chain reaction crash that damaged six vehicles in total.

After being extricated from the vehicle by emergency crews, the driver of the Prius was taken to Madigan Army Medical Center with three broken limbs and a head injury, Bartolac said. She was placed into a medically induced coma.

Route 512 was blocked eastbound to Interstate 5 and South Tacoma Way, as were the northbound I-5 exit to eastbound Route 512 and the southbound exit to westbound Route 512.

One lane of westbound Route 512 opened to exit to I-5 southbound about 4:30 p.m., Bartolac said. The other lanes remained closed until about 6 p.m., more than four hours after the crash.

The criminal investigation of the collision delayed the clearing of the crash site, Bartolac said.

At one point, I-5 travel times through the area more than doubled in each direction, WSDOT posted on Twitter.

Kenny Ocker: 253-597-8627, @KennyOcker

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