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Last words of man who died of injuries from I-5 crash: ‘Thanks for helping me’

LAKEWOOD, Wash. -- Two people are under arrest accused of driving under the influence and causing a pair of crashes that police said killed a man on I-5 early Friday morning.

The Washington State Patrol said one of the causing drivers, a JBLM soldier, killed a Yelm man who moments before had been involved a minor fender-bender on I-5 in Lakewood. WSP identified the victim as 46-year-old Jason Ley of Yelm.

Elma’s Tony Abbott, a witness to the crash, told Q13 News he tried comforting Ley during the ordeal.

“I’ve dealt with several fatalities in my career but this is the first personal one,” he said.

Abbot told Q13 News he has training as a first responder, citing a career in the field for more than a decade. He said his training kicked in when he offered help to the injured man.

“He couldn’t feel me touching his feet, so I knew he had to have some sort of spinal injury at the time,” he said.

Police said it started as a three-car fender bender on I-5 southbound in Lakewood.

Abbot said that when Ley and the other driver got out of their vehicles to share information after their crash, he witnessed another car drive up into the crash scene and collide with the vehicles, injuring Ley.

Medics soon rushed Ley to nearby Madigan Army Medical Center but he did not survive.

Police arrested the causing driver, a 22-year-old Army Specialist stationed at Joint Base Lewis McChord.

Abbott said despite all his years of helping people in crisis, Friday’s crash has shaken him.

“Jason’s last moments need to be told,” he said.

Coincidentally, just moments after the crash that injured Ley, police arrested another person driving under the influence after they allegedly caused another collision only yards away from the first crash scene.

Troopers said another vehicle fled from the scene, police are still searching for that driver.

Police ended up arresting two men accused of driving under the influence and causing the two separate crashes. The man alleged to have killed Ley could be facing vehicular homicide charges.

Abbott said he feels thankful he could help bring calm to Ley who was in serious pain during the last few moments of his life.

“It’s sad that the last words this man will every speak is, ‘Thank you for helping me, Tony.’