Three people were killed early Thursday after a hit-and-run driver forced their car to roll on Interstate 5, shutting down the freeway for more than five hours near Bridgeport Way.
A DuPont police officer was also struck by a semi while sitting in his patrol car at the scene. He suffered neck and back pain and was released from the hospital Thursday morning. The department said the patrol car was totaled.
The incident started about 2:15 a.m. when a suspected drunken driver traveling south on I-5 swerved across all lanes and struck a 1999 Honda CRV, pushing it into the jersey barrier and causing it to roll near New York Avenue SW.
The Honda landed upside down and the impact threw the engine block and other debris into northbound lanes, where another vehicle hit it.
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Two people in the Honda were immediately pronounced dead at the scene. A third was trapped and pronounced dead after paramedics pulled them out.
The victims have not been identified. They include a 30-year-old Kelso man, 44-year-old Kelso woman and 51-year-old Longview man.
The 23-year-old driver who caused the crash fled the scene but an off-duty Seattle dispatcher who saw what happened was able to direct troopers to the suspect.
A man was found outside the car three miles away trying to pull the damaged bumper off, according to KIRO-7.
He was arrested on suspicion of three counts of vehicular homicide, DUI, felony hit-and-run, possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver and possession of a stolen firearm.
The closure at Bridgeport Way impacted the morning commute, causing an 11-mile traffic backup in the northbound lanes and a 4-mile backup in the southbound lanes. All lanes reopened by 7:30 a.m.
It also created delays for buses with Clover Park and Steilacoom schools.
Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653