COWLITZ COUNTY – The State Patrol warns of “significant delays” on I-5 southbound after two semi trucks crashed down an embankment and ended up in the Columbia River south of Kalama Tuesday afternoon.
Trooper Will Finn says the driver of a car lost control in a heavy rain storm, causing a semi-truck to hit the rear of the car and then another semi truck. Finn says, “Those two semis actually went down the embankment. The driver of the car that caused the accident suffered a broken finger, and no one else was seriously hurt.”
“A fire did engulf one of the semis causing a total loss to the tractor itself. The other semi rolled onto its side and into the (Columbia River) water, and that semi trailer was loaded with metal shelving”, Trooper Finn added.
The U.S. Coast Guard and Washington State Department of Ecology will assess the extent of the diesel spill in the river and any environmental damage. Trooper Finn says, “One vehicle had an estimated 100 gallons of diesel on board and the other had an estimated 200 gallons on board.”
The state trooper added that anytime weather is not perfect we have to be mindful to slow our speeds, and whenever necessary pull off of the freeway until the weather passes. He also advised to always check before driving to assure that your windshield wipers and tires are good and that your vehicle is in good working order.
Photo courtesy: State Trooper Will Finn
Troopers said fuel is leaking from two semis and the U.S. Coast Guard is en route to evaluate the situation.
WSP first reported the crash around 2 p.m. on Tuesday
photos from Washington State Department of Transportation.
Several lanes of interstate are closed as cleanup is underway from Kalama to Woodland on I-5.