The Washington State Patrol says two people have been killed in a collision between a semi and a car on US-195 two miles south of Colfax.
The accident happened at milepost 36, just before 5 a.m. Friday.
Four people were traveling northbound in a 1999 VW Jetta when the driver lost control and spun into the southbound lane and was struck from behind by a Freightliner semi.
"The car impacted the semi truck and then obviously spun to a position of rest where it is now and we do know that one of the occupants was ejected through the top of the vehicle but we don't know where that person was in relation to being seated in the vehicle," WSP Trooper Courtney Shawley said.
Nancy Zepeda, 21, and Ashley Gonzalez, 21, who were passengers in the Jetta, died at the scene. Neither of the victims was wearing a seatbelt.
"Kind of a reverse head-on collision, as we know right now there are two deceased out of the passenger vehicle and we have two other passengers out of the passenger vehicle that have been transported," Shawley said.
The driver of the Jetta and another passenger were also injured in the crash. The driver was taken by ambulance to Steptoe and from there was airlifted by MedStar to Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane while the injured passenger was taken to Whitman Hospital in Colfax. Their current conditions are not known.
The driver of the semi was not injured.
Highway 195 was shut down to just one lane for approximately six hours due to the crash investigation.
Friday afternoon, Eastern Washington University President Rodolfo Arevalo confirmed in a letter to the campus community all four people in the car were Eastern students.
Dear Campus Community:
It is with tremendous sadness that I report the passing of two Eastern Washington University students after a traffic accident early this morning on US Highway 195 near Colfax.
According to the Washington State Patrol, two other students were also in the vehicle, and one is in critical condition at a Spokane hospital while the other was taken to a hospital in Pullman and has been released.
All four involved in the crash were female students who are participating in the Chicano Education Program and other student programs on campus. They have provided leadership to a number of university organizations, so their loss will be felt campus wide.
This is a very difficult day for the whole EWU community. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the families and friends of the victims.
It is also important at this time to remind you that anyone who may need special services in light of this tragedy may utilize the university’s counseling support assistance, offered though our office of Counseling and Psychological Services.
Information about a campus memorial for the students will be forthcoming in the coming days.
Rodolfo Arévalo, PhD