• Nine fatalities on King County highways in one week

    By: Deborah Horne


     An already-deadly week on state roads and highways in King County ends with yet another fatal crash.

    Troopers blame a wrong-day driver for this latest wreck amid a new warning about driving under the influence.

    The crash occurred on I-5 near Federal Way Saturday morning.  It left one man dead and another critically injured.

    That has been a sad refrain this week. In all, nine people have died on state highways in King County this week alone. That includes the Fife man who died on I-5.

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    Washington State Patrol sent pictures to illustrate the devastation of the Saturday morning crash.

    Troopers say 36-year-old David Drexler of Tacoma was driving the wrong way on I-5 when he struck a disabled vehicle just before three o'clock.

    "And when troopers and first responders got to the scene, the passenger in that vehicle was deceased at the scene..." said WSP Trooper Rick Johnson. "The driver was taken to Harborview in what I believe was critical condition."

    Johnson talked by telephone.  He said investigators believe the driver was impaired.

    "Yes," he said. "I mean, look at the time of day. Typically wrong-way vehicles, in my experience, the ones I've been involved in, it's either confusion or impairment."

    It has been a deadly week on King County's state highways. A pickup slammed into a Honda, killing two women on State Route 18 during the Friday morning commute. 

    That driver, 25-year-old Josh Hannick, is suspected of being on narcotics, the second time the Lacey man has been suspected of impaired driving in less than a month.  

    Drexler's driving history isn't known. 

    Trooper Johnson advises staying to the right to avoid being struck by a wrong way driver.

    "Because wrong way drivers typically get on the freeway the wrong way," said Johnson, "and that right lane, to them, is the fast lane to the people going the correct way."

    Trooper Johnson says so far this year, 39 people have been killed on state highways in King County.

    Nearly all of them were victims of impaired drivers.

    He said troopers are working hard to get impaired drivers off the highways. But it is up to the rest of us to help keep them off.

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