SPOKANE VALLEY - Tuesday afternoon was a treacherous one for area commuters as three of the major freeways around Spokane and Coeur d?Alene were hit with multiple car crashes that shut down several roadways and left one driver dead.
Highway 395 nine miles north of Spokane
MedStar was called in to land a helicopter on Highway 395 nine miles north of Spokane to pick up a patient from a two-car collision that blocked traffic in both directions. The Washington State Patrol reports that there a car driven by a young woman and three people in a minivan involved in the crash.
The woman driving the car was southbound on 395 when she lost control because of weather conditions ? the road was icy and slushy at the time of the crash ? and hit the minvan. The State Patrol shut down the freeway so MedStar could land a chopper on the roadway to pick up the woman, who was in critical condition and had to be extricated from her vehicle.
That driver,20-year-old Laura Koppe of Deer Park, was flown to Sacred Heart Medical Center where just before 4 p.m. she succumbed to her injuries.
In their post-crash analysis the Washington State Patrol determined that Koppe, driving southbound on 395, lost control on the slush-covered roadway and crossed the center line, striking a Toyota Sienna minivan driven by 80-year-old Richard Smith of Addy in the passenger side door.
The State Patrol determined that Koppe was driving too fast for road and weather condtions.
Interstate 90 at University
The eastbound lanes of I-90 were shut down after a vehicle collision near the freeway and University.
One driver passing by the crash scene reported they saw a silver Chrysler Sebring sandwiched under a semi trailer and extrication is in progress.
The eastbound lanes of the freeway were shut down at Argonne heading east toward the crash site and traffic was diverted around the crash until the car could be pulled out from underneath the semi. In the westbound lanes the left-hand lane was shut down for emergency vehicle parking.
The driver of the Chrysler Sebring, Kathleen Schroeder, was extricated from his vehicle and transported by ambulance to the hospital. Authorities described that person's injuries as minor.
The Washington State Patrol reports that both vehicles were traveling eastbound when the driver of the semi truck changed lanes. Schroeder swerved over to the left to avoid striking the truck, lost control and spun out, her vehicle coming to a rest underneath the semi trailer in the center line of the freeway.
All lanes were reopened shortly before 4 p.m. and the driver of the truck, Martin Gross, was cited for Improper Lane Change.
Highway 95 at Chilco Mill in Athol
The Idaho State Police confirms there has been a six-car pile-up on Highway 95 at Chilco Mill in Athol. There were injuries in the crash but fortunately no fatalities.
Traffic was initially shut down in both directions but as of 3:45 p.m. there was one lane open and alternating between north and south.
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