A complicated Washington traffic accident on an interstate highway can lead to the closure of several lanes or, on occasion, the entire highway in one direction. Such closures undoubtedly create a temptation to drive around the barriers or ignore police officers who are directing traffic. As a drunk driver demonstrated in a recent traffic accident near Evergreen in the Spokane Valley, such temptation should be resisted.
The event began on November 17 on I-90 when an eastbound pickup truck slammed into a passenger car. The impact caused the pickup truck to collide with a semi-trailer truck. That impact, in turn, caused the semi to spin out of control and roll onto its side. The driver of the pickup ran from the scene but was apprehended by police in a nearby shopping mall. He was taken to a nearby hospital and treated for his injuries. The semi driver and a passenger in the sedan were treated for injuries at the scene and released. The driver of the pickup was charged with felony DUI and leaving the scene of an accident. Police closed all eastbound lanes on I-90 for several hours.
While the lanes were closed, another eastbound driver approached the accident scene. The closure signs and flashing lights evidently convinced him that he was headed for an intolerable delay. He drove around the road closure signs and was arrested by police at the scene. He was not injured, but he was charged with DUI.
The two drivers both face serious criminal charges. The driver who tried to drive around the "Road Closed" signs faces less serious accusations, but a conviction could lead to the imposition of significant limitations on his right to operate a motor vehicle. If the driver of the pickup truck who started the chain of events is convicted of a felony DUI, he could lose his right to drive, be required to pay a fine and even face months of incarceration. Either driver may benefit from consulting an attorney who is experienced in defending DUI cases. A knowledgeable attorney can evaluate the facts of the case, formulate defense strategies and, if appropriate, negotiate a favorable plea agreement.