Local News

Tow-truck driver dies in crash on snowy Snoqualmie Pass

snowSNOQUALMIE PASS — A tow-truck driver was struck and killed Sunday afternoon on Interstate 90 while trying to tow away a car in near whiteout conditions.

Just before night fell, a driver lost control of his vehicle on the roadway, running into a tow-truck driver that had stopped to help tow a different vehicle. One witness said the crash was caused by the slick, snow-covered roadway.

“He got out of control and slid sideways and basically went broadside right into the back of the tow truck,” Allen Henley said. “I think the tow-truck guy was standing back there behind the truck.”

Chief Jay Wiseman of Snoqualmie Pass Fire and Rescue said the victim, who hasn’t been identified, died instantly at the scene.

Wiseman said he sees a lot of accidents over the pass in snowy weather. Most of them are caused by drivers going too fast for the conditions, he said.

“The roads are really slippery and people really need to be watching their speed out here on the interstate,” Wiseman said. “A lot of people think they got 4-wheel-drive and they can drive really fast but that’s not the case. It’s slippery.”

Throughout the evening snow continued to fall over I-90. Both directions of the pass were closed at times, and drivers who hadn’t prepared for the winter conditions found treacherous travel.

“I wasn’t prepared for the trip over,” said driver Julio Morales. “I came over this morning and I was heading back after spending the day in Seattle and tried to push it a little too hard and kind of got stranded because of the conditions of the roadway.”

I-90 was closed in both directions at 9:20 p.m due to high winds and limited visibilty. Extra Washington State Department of Transportation crews worked hard to open the pass, said WSDOT crewman Kevin Nicholson.

“Twenty-one operators and we have 14 snow plows and some of those have wings on them,” Nicholson said. “We also have four graders and snow blowers as well.”

Drivers are encouraged to check the Washington State Department of Transportation’s winter weather page for closures and restrictions before heading over the passes.


21 Comments to “Tow-truck driver dies in crash on snowy Snoqualmie Pass”

    Anon said:
    December 16, 2012 at 10:28 PM

    This is so sad. Glad Jay was there to help out! Such a great guy!

    lisa said:
    December 16, 2012 at 10:47 PM

    Our prayers go out to the tow driver and his family. Working on the side of the road is dangerous. Please slow down when weather conditions are bad. When you see flashing lights from officers or tow trucks — slow down even more and more over and give us more room to do our jobs.

    Rob said:
    December 16, 2012 at 10:47 PM

    This is why morons need to stay off the road… and more props given to those who work hard in bad weather

    Gavin said:
    December 16, 2012 at 11:24 PM

    I drove over Stevens Pass tonight. Lots of people going MUCH too fast. Hopefully they all find this article.

    deb said:
    December 16, 2012 at 11:39 PM

    I am a tow truck driver myself and tonight I lost my friend. He was a great person and a great tow truck driver. People please slow down out there.

    david said:
    December 17, 2012 at 5:28 AM

    our thoughts and prayers go out to his or her family.Miller Tow and Recovery,Harrisonville,mo

    h said:
    December 17, 2012 at 8:19 AM

    people in wa think they can drive in snow..you cant!!!!!

    Lela Barnhart said:
    December 17, 2012 at 10:39 AM

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends, co works & comunity. Thank you to the service workers putting it all on the line for all of us!

    Randall C. Resch said:
    December 17, 2012 at 5:24 PM

    Since November, 2012 … 13-tow truck operators or tow personnel have been killed while working tow related scenarios. That's unacceptable! When will the motoring public take heed that they are responsible for many tow operator fatalities? The Number One cause for motor vehicle accidents has nothing to do with the move-over law, but speed for conditions. Driving too fast for conditions is what caused this driver to loose his life. For all you towers, … your ALL heros to me.

    Garry said:
    December 17, 2012 at 8:14 PM

    Our sincerest condolences to the victim’s family, friends and co-workers. Our firm performs towing & recovery operations on high mountain passes in Canada where drivers are just as negligent and have no regard for the safety and well being of roadside workers. There must be an end to this senseless carnage!

    Paramedic said:
    December 17, 2012 at 11:46 PM

    I was responding code to this call in a ambulance and cars were passing us in the lanes to our right. Slow down!

    DWI Houston said:
    December 26, 2012 at 10:58 PM

    Our thoughts and prayers go out to all involved in this tragic incident.

    Patricia said:
    January 15, 2013 at 7:33 PM

    My thoughts and prayers go out the this family. I am a tow truck drivers wife and it gets scary out there when people dont move over or watch what there are doing. So can people please be considerate and move over for these guys they have familys too.

    West la movers said:
    February 25, 2013 at 12:51 AM

    Ohh my good! It is really a dangerous fact that car or truck crash indeed. It is really an sorrowful info for us. This post has declared us to be conscious on road. Really informative post to all…..

    Kiara Agnew said:
    March 3, 2013 at 6:44 PM

    It sounds very horrible. This is the hazard of driving amidst heavy snow and the ground that is semi frozen leads to a lot of skidding. I dare not drive under the winter storm.

    Dennis Wilson said:
    April 12, 2013 at 1:59 AM

    That's a terrible accident. Snow condition is really dangerous for driving and I feel upset because of that driver death. I think it's better off driving during critical situation. Thanks.

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    new ageless male said:
    August 1, 2013 at 3:46 AM

    It is very sad that the government is not taking the necessary actions to prevent accidents. I hope these incidents will open the eyes of the government. Thank you for sharing this post. Keep up the good work guys.

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