A hit-and-run crash on Interstate 5 in south of Tacoma killed two Kelso residents and a Longview man and closed southbound lanes of the freeway for most of Thursday morning commute.
The victims were Kelso residents Jaime Pelayo Pelayo, 30, and Sherry Renee Rodriguez, 44, and Longview resident Yanez Martin Rodriguez, 51, according to the Pierce County Medical Examiner.
The medical examiner said Sherry Rodriguez and Yanez Rodriguez are believed to have been married even though they had different listed addresses.
The immediate cause of death for all three was multiple traumatic injuries due to a vehicle crash and the manner of their deaths was an accident, according to the medical examiner.
The Washington State Patrol says a 23-year-old man was swerving across the southbound lanes when he struck a car at about 2:15 a.m. Thursday. That vehicle rolled over, killing three people inside, and its engine block launched into the northbound lanes, prompting another crash. No one was hurt in that crash.
The driver, 23, kept going but was subsequently arrested for investigation of vehicular homicide. He faces charges of driving while intoxicated, three counts of vehicular homicide, hit and run, possession of marijuana with intent to deliver and possession of a stolen firearm.
Investigators say an off-duty Seattle Police Department dispatcher saw the crash and gave detailed information about where the driver fled. When officers found the car, the driver was outside it trying to rip off its bumper.
The crash and investigation closed all southbound lanes and three northbound lanes for about five hours. A DuPont officer who responded suffered minor injuries when his or her patrol car was struck by a semi at the scene.