Motorcyclist killed in Smokey Point crash that closed I-5 for hours identified

MARYSVILLE, Wash. — A motorcyclist was killed in a three-vehicle crash that shut down southbound Interstate 5 in Smokey Point for more than six hours Tuesday.

The crash was reported at around 3 a.m.

The lanes were closed just south of State Route 531/172nd Street Northeast. The closure stretched for four miles, from Arlington to the Tulalip Casino and outlet mall.

Washington State Patrol Trooper Kelsey Harding said a motorcycle, Jeep and a semi-truck were involved. She said the motorcycle was speeding when it hit the Jeep.

“The motorcycle driver struck the rear of a Jeep on the driver side, and the Jeep was able to pull to the shoulder and activate their hazards, but the motorcycle rider and the bike were down,” said Harding.

Investigators say the semi-truck drove by but didn’t see the motorcyclist on the road.

“The semi saw the hazards on the right shoulder and moved... to try to give them space on the shoulder and before they were able to realize what was in the roadway, they struck the motorcycle rider and the motorcycle,” said Harding.

The motorcyclist was identified by the Snohomish County Medical Examiner as Christopher R. Salge, 40, of Arlington.

Troopers were seen walking back and forth on a long stretch of the freeway, where crash debris was strewn across the road.

“Depending on what tire marks they see, they are able to do a minimum or an actual speed estimate,” said Harding.

Both the Jeep and the semi truck driver stayed at the scene and are cooperating with investigators. Accidents like this are a reminder for drivers to take it slow.

“It’s sad that it happened but people do need to slow down,” said driver, Darlene Gay.

“We need the public’s help, the public needs to obey the speed limits. Don’t drive distracted and don’t drive impaired,” said Harding.

All lanes reopened at around 9:30 a.m.

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