• 'Blown tire' is likely cause of fatal motor home accident

    By: Deborah Horne


    A blown front tire likely caused the fatal motor home accident that shut down I-90 just south of Ellensburg on Labor Day. Two family members, including a six-year-old girl, died, and seven more were injured. All nine people in the motor home were from the same North Sound family.      

    Two of the family members at Harborview Medical Center are in satisfactory condition. Only the driver, Michael Edelbrock, remains in the intensive care unit in serious condition.

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    Three members of the family -- 41-year-old Jessi Edelbrock and her 62-year-old father, Michael, from Snohomish, and a 3-year-old nephew, from Monroe -- were airlifted to Harborview Medical Center yesterday. 

    "This was a pretty tragic collision," Washington State Trooper Brian Moore said.

    The photographs of the wreckage provided by Moore show that the 40-foot motor home was pulling a 20-foot trailer filled with motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles when disaster struck.

    "The vehicle blew its left front steer tire, lost control, went over an embankment and into Wilson Creek,” Moore said. “And, tragically, the life of a grandmother and a granddaughter were lost as a result."

    Lois Edelbrock, 61, died at the scene. Her 6-year-old granddaughter died later at a hospital in Ellensburg. Three other young family members were also taken to local hospitals.

    Moore said the driver, Michael Edelbrock, and a teenage grandson were the only ones wearing seat belts. He was asked if the law requires everybody in a motor home to use a seat belt.

    "Washington law does not require the occupants of a motor home to be seat-belted, unless they're in the driver's compartment,” he said.

    The Washington State Patrol said Michael Edelbrock is unlikely to face any charges, which might offer comfort to a family devastated by tragedy.

    "This is unspeakable," Moore said. "I have kids this age. And I couldn't imagine."

    The six children involved in the crash are all students in the Monroe School District. The district said it is providing counseling for anyone who needs it.

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