Concerns continue over WSU's winter weather policy after crash kills 1, injures 2

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Concerns continue over WSU’s winter weather policy after two students were injured and another was killed during a crash in snowy weather.

Two brothers were trying to head back to WSU for class last Saturday when they were involved in a multicar crash.

Washington State University, by its own admission, almost never closes school, even in adverse weather.

Left:18-year-old John Crawford. Right: 21-year-old Justin Crawford.

The brothers, 21-year-old Justin Crawford and 18-year-old John Crawford were passengers in an SUV that rolled in a multicar crash on I-90 near Cle Elum as the car full of friends headed back to WSU in Pullman for the start of school. 

Their fraternity brother, 19-year-old passenger Dashiell Mortell, died at the scene. 

John, who was also a back passenger, has a severe and permanent injury to the back of his legs.

Front passenger Justin has serious injuries to his neck and ear.

19-year-old passenger Dashiell Mortell died at the scene.

They are now sharing a room at Harborview Medical Center.

KIRO 7's Maria Guerrero spoke with the father of the young men, James Crawford, about his sons and his take on the school's policy.

James Crawford said he is overwhelmed at the outpouring of support.

James Crawford: “And I just want to thank everyone for that.”

Guerrero: “What led up to (the crash)?”

James Crawford: “Ah, it was just road conditions."

One day later, another student, 20-year-old Rachel Pomeroy, died in a crash on Highway 26, as she, too, drove back for the start of school.

WSU officials are defending their decision not to postpone the start of class, even in wintery weather,
leading many to criticize the university.

Guerrero asked James Crawford about his opinion on the policy.

James Crawford: "I do have some feelings but I'd rather keep those to myself at this time."

Crawford did say all the prayers from the community have reinforced something.

James Crawford: "That every day is precious. Every moment is precious. Love your kids and take care of them.”

There's an online petition calling on state officials to improve the roads leading in and out of Pullman.

WSU encourages students to take weather conditions into account when traveling.

Guerrero’s calls and emails to the university were not returned.

 

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