Officials identify 2 Tacoma men killed in I-5 crash in Lacey

A rolled-over tractor-trailer rig blocks all lanes of Interstate 5 in Lacey on Tuesday night.
A rolled-over tractor-trailer rig blocks all lanes of Interstate 5 in Lacey on Tuesday night. Courtesy

Two people died late Tuesday when a semitractor-trailer full of produce jack-knifed onto the car they were driving on northbound Interstate 5 in Lacey, according to the Washington State Patrol.

The 5:49 p.m. crash just south of Marvin Road, which involved more than 10 vehicles, left the trailer across the northbound lanes, closing the freeway for 11 hours, according to the State Patrol.

Driver Richard Nelson, 50, and passenger Thomas Bates, 47, Tacoma residents who were married, were killed in the crash, Thurston County Coroner Gary Warnock said Wednesday.

Among the injured were a 51-year-old woman from Lacey, a 47-year-old-woman from Santa Clarita, California, and a 35-year-old woman from Auburn. All were transported to Providence St. Peter Hospital.

According to Washingon State Patrol Trooper Shaneka Phillips:

The semitruck’s driver was going north on I-5 in the middle lane, came upon stopped traffic and tried to stop the rig, but could not stop in time.

The rig hit several vehicles and jack-knifed, coming to rest on its passenger side with the cab in the median and the trailer across the lanes of traffic.

The trailer fell across a 2015 Kia sedan with at least two occupants, crushing it and pushing the sedan into the back of another semitrailer. Nelson and Bates were in that vehicle.

The trailer fell across the lanes of travel, while the semitrailer’s cab came to rest in the median.

The other vehicles involved in the crash were hit by the semitrailer before it flipped, or they were hit by vehicles the semitrailer hit.

The semitrailer’s driver was not impaired, Phillips said.

The cause of the crash is under investigation. Charges are pending, according to the State Patrol.

Major Accident Investigation Team detectives are seeking witnesses to the event or anything leading up to or after the crash. Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Sgt. Jerry Cooper at 425-508-0602 or, or Det. Ed Collins at 360-805-1153 or