Cars roll over, crash in wild road rage battle

by: Natasha Chen Updated:


KING COUNTY, Wash. - State troopers have sorted out more details in a wild road-rage incident that went on for 10 miles until both cars crashed on Interstate 90 near Lake Sammamish.

The State Patrol said the cars hit one other multiple times before they rolled over and stopped in the median near the West Lake Sammamish exit about 6:45 p.m. Wednesday.

Troopers said the conflict began as a domestic-violence situation somewhere in North Bend.

The driver of a Ford Freestyle, Hugo Yanez, had 27-year-old Karen Hardtke and her 2-year-old son in the car.

The woman's boyfriend, Desi Beltran, was driving a second SUV. Troopers said he was trying to drive the woman off the road.

Several callers told 911 dispatchers that the two vehicles were traveling more than 100 miles per hour.

One caller said early on, "One of them just hit the other one."

The dispatcher asked, "Ok, so where's the accident at?"

The caller responded, "There's no accident. They just kept on going."

Another caller said, "I have no idea what the hell they were doing. They almost hit me; they were chasing each other. 

"One was obviously following the other really closely. They were weaving in and out of traffic."

Somehow the man driving the Ford with the two passengers was able to keep the vehicle on the road for some time, but they kept hitting one other while traveling at high speeds until they finally crashed on the I-90 median between Issaquah and Bellevue.

One of the drivers ran from the scene after the crash, leaving the woman and child behind in the car. They were not hurt.

The crashed SUVs blocked part of the interstate for about four and a half hours.

Both drivers were treated for minor injuries and eventually booked on reckless driving and other charges.

The boyfriend, Beltran, was also charged with domestic assault.

"Thanks to the public, we received about 10 calls advising of this incident, so we were able to quickly arrive and one suspect had fled the scene. But with the assistance of Bellevue police, we were able to locate him," said Washington State Patrol Sgt. Donovan Daly.

Daly said that charges may be modified once officials get more information.

The child's father, Travis Zimmerman, told KIRO 7 this incident stemmed from a domestic dispute before anyone ever got on the freeway.

"I'm just concerned about his well-being," Zimmerman said about his son, Dylan.

Zimmerman said that on Wednesday night, he was told that his son's name was mentioned on the police scanner.

He said he learned that his son's grandmother had felt suspicious of Yanez. He said she and Yanez were in a verbal altercation, before Yanez left with Hardtke and the boy.

Zimmerman does not know how Beltran got involved. He only found out Thursday morning that there had been an accident.
"I'm pretty upset. I have an ongoing custody case, about the safety of my child, so this is a big deal. So it's just bad choices and bad people," he said.

KIRO 7 tried to contact Hardtke but was unable to reach her.


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