Three people, including an infant, were taken to St. Joseph hospital after a chain-reaction crash around noon Monday, when a flatbed truck plowed into a line of cars waiting for a flagger at a construction site on Mount Baker Highway.
All three people were in a 2006 Chevrolet Uplander minivan, at the end of the line of eastbound cars stopped near Everson-Goshen Road, according to the Washington State Patrol.
Troopers said a medium-duty commercial truck, a Chevrolet C4500, did not stop in time before smashing into the rear of the stopped van, thrusting it into a newer Cadillac Escalade, which hit a 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier convertible waiting for a flagger at the head of the line, according to state troopers.
In the van a Lummi Nation man, 35, suffered a concussion; a woman suffered a broken wrist; and a 3-month-old girl did not appear hurt, but she was still taken to the hospital as a precaution, said Sgt. Mark Francis of the Washington State Patrol. The child was properly restrained in a rear-facing child-safety seat, troopers said.
“I just saw that van stopped and I was standing on my brakes,” said Eric Hallas, the driver of the flatbed. “It seemed like I was just sliding, and I was trying to decide if I would hit the van or slam into the ditch.”
Hallas, 22, said he works for Northern Concrete Construction of Bellingham, which owns the truck. He had been making deliveries on the highway all morning, he said. A call to the business rang unanswered Monday afternoon.
Troopers cited Hallas at the scene for negligent driving, a misdemeanor. The crash remained under investigation Monday, Francis said.
“I just heard a really, really loud screech and I braced for it,” said Joyce Heberden of Bellingham, whose Cavalier convertible was at the head of the line.
Heberden and a passenger were unhurt. The driver of the Escalade, Narissa Moa, had a sore neck but declined aid at the scene.
The state patrol’s commercial vehicle inspection team was called in to investigate the wreck. Traffic was detoured around the scene at Mission and Everson-Goshen roads during the investigation and cleanup of debris.
The Bellingham Herald reporter Caleb Hutton contributed to this report.
The age of Eric Hallas was corrected on Nov. 9, 2106.
The hometown of the man who suffered a concussion was corrected Nov. 10, 2016.