8 Killed In Saturday Morning Crashes

8 Killed In Saturday Morning Crashes
NEAR MORTON - The Washington State Patrol is investigating two multiple-fatality crashes in which a total of eight people were killed Saturday morning.

Highway 12 Crash

In the first crash, a heavy duty truck and a van collided near Morton, on Highway 12 in Lewis County.

The victims are Hispanic laborers working for the florist industry. They were on a back country trip picking plants.

"It appears that there were at least four people that were ejected out of the van," explained Sgt. Jeff Speer with the Washington State Patrol.

Troopers say even though the van is meant to hold nine people, there were 11 people inside when it crashed Saturday.

When rescuers arrived they found three people had died instantly, and six more were airlifted to hospitals in Portland and Seattle. One of the people hospitalized passed away later in the day.

The driver of the other vehicle - a heavy duty pickup truck - was only slightly injured, and according to the State Patrol was not the one at fault.

"Well, it appears that the van was traveling eastbound and the truck was traveling westbound and for a reason we don't know at this time the van crossed over into the oncoming lane," said Sgt. Speer.

The driver of the van is among the survivors airlifted to the hospital. Troopers don't know yet if he lost control - or fell asleep at the wheel.

Investigators don't believe alcohol was involved.

The van and the truck were the only two vehicles on the road, within miles of any other traffic.

"Until we're actually able to talk to somebody who's survived the crash we won't now why the driver drifted across the center line and into the oncoming lane," said Sgt. Speer.

4 Killed Near Pysht

Another car crash Saturday morning claimed the lives of four people from Clallam Bay.

The Washington State Patrol says John Hubble, 20, was behind the wheel of a Geo Metro when he lost control on Highway 112 and slid off the road near the town of Pysht.

The car landed upside down in three to four feet of water and mud at the edge of the Pysht River.

Corrections officers returning from work at Clallam Bay Prison found the car and tried to turn it over, but Hubble and the three other teens with him were already dead.

The State Patrol identifies those passengers as Erik Kroeger,18, Damien Anderson, 18, and Cassidy Hunter, 16.

The accident happened sometime between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. The State Patrol says the road was wet at the time but is also looking for other contributing factors that may have caused the car to slide off the road in a curve.