One person killed in multi-vehicle accident near Four Lakes


Bob Douthitt

State highway personnel and law enforcement officials examine the wreckage of a semi-truck and trailer involved in last Wednesday's fatal accident on I-90 at the Four Lakes/Medical Lake Road overpass.

One person was killed and eight others injured in a four-vehicle accident last Wednesday on Interstate 90 just south of the Cheney/Four Lakes exit.

According to a Washington State Patrol collision memo, at approximately 8:02 a.m. Jose L. Mendoza, 44, of Walla Walla was eastbound in a 2006 Nissan Frontier pickup when he lost control of the vehicle under icy conditions on the Four Lakes/Medical Lake Road overpass. The pickup went off the roadway into the median and crossed the median into the westbound lanes where it was struck by a 2003 Peterbilt semi-tractor and trailer driven by Gerry J. Tosoff, 60, of Chilliwack, British Columbia.

Mendoza's pickup continued across the westbound lanes and off the road over an embankment, coming to rest on a county road that parallels I-90. The semi swerved to the left after striking the pickup and crossed into the eastbound lanes where it was struck by a 2009 Subaru Outback driven by Larry E. Yount, 63, of Clark Fork, Idaho and then by a 2009 Toyota Prius driven by Marvin C. Williamson, 61, of Moses Lake.

The semi continued across the eastbound lanes, through the guard rail and finally down the embankment, coming to rest on one lane of the Four Lakes/Medical Lake Road. A passenger in the Prius driven by Williamson, 38-year-old Herlinda Alzate Barrera was pronounced dead at the scene from blunt force fractures of the skull, chest and abdominal injuries.

Mendoza, Tosoff, Yount and Williamson were injured as were Mendoza's passenger Jonathan A. Mendoza, 26, of Walla Walla, Tosoff's passenger Donna M. Tosoff, 59, of Chilliwack, Yount's passenger Darla D. Yount, 52, of Clark Fork and Williamson's other passenger Lorenzo Alzate-Rojas, 15, of Mattawa. All were wearing seat belts and all were transported to Sacred Heart Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.

I-90 was closed eastbound and westbound for several hours, with traffic re-routed on SR 902 through Medical Lake. The resulting backup appears to have been the cause of a separate minor-injury accident when a pickup truck struck a service vehicle near milepost 273 in the westbound lanes north of the Medical Lake exit.

Both lanes were eventually reopened mid-afternoon.


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