Rochester, Wash. - On Tuesday afternoon a semi truck carrying scrap metal crashed into the back of a Jeep waiting to make a left-hand turn on Highway 12 in Rochester. The jeep was pushed forward into oncoming traffic and collided head-on with a pickup truck. The jeep then caught fire and it's driver, 15-year-old Andy Sommer suffered second- and third-degree burns before he was pulled from the car by an off duty firefighter. Andy's friend Caelyn Carew couldn't believe he survived. "I couldn't believe he was alive; Andy's car was in half."
As Andy was being flown to Harborview word spread and then students found out the pickup Andy's Jeep was pushed into was driven by Rob Johnson, the father of their classmate and friend, Sara. Johnson, 51, was also seriously injured. Student Logan Steffan tells KIRO-7, "It was really sad, both of them are amazing people."
The school of 600 students is now rallying support for Andy and Rob. A banner for Andy is being signed by his friends and will soon be delivered to Harborview where fortunately both Andy and Rob are slowly recovering. Classmate Caelyn Carew says "I want them to know everybody here loves them and we're all rooting for them. They are extremely lucky to be alive and and we are rooting for them all the way."
Several students told KIRO-7 the area of the crash at Highway 12 and Pecan Street is very dangerous and they are signing an online petition to push for a turn lane at the location. Trooper Guy Gill with the Washington State Patrol tells KIRO-7 in this case it was driver inattention not road design that caused the wreck. Gill says the semi driver will be charged with negligent driving, second-degree, after admitting to troopers he was admiring the view of Mt. Rainier instead of looking at the road when he smashed into Andy Sommer's jeep.