By Eric Stevick Herald Writer
MARYSVILLE — A suspected drunken driver was arrested Friday for investigation of vehicular assault after reportedly rear-ending a Washington State Patrol trooper about two miles north of the Seattle Premium Outlet mall.
Traffic backed up several miles for more than three hours during the accident investigation.
Trooper Mack Hyatt, 58, a 35-year veteran of the State Patrol, suffered no life-threatening injuries and was extracted from the unmarked patrol car, said trooper Keith Leary. Hyatt was examined for possible back injuries and was taken to Providence Regional Medical Center Everett.
Hyatt has been released from the hospital and will be recuperating at home.
“He is in good spirits with family and friends,” Leary said Friday afternoon.
The accident occurred on the northbound lanes of I-5 at milepost 204 about one mile south of the 172nd Street NE exit to Smokey Point.
The trooper was on the left side of the northbound lane near the grassy cabled median when his Dodge Magnum was struck by a black 2004 Dodge Durango sport utility vehicle.
“He had just pulled over and was almost to a stop,” Leary said.
The SUV crossed three lanes of traffic before striking the patrol car, Leary said. The patrol car then hit a cable barrier. The SUV’s driver, a 50-year-old Ferndale man, was accompanied by his wife, 50, and two daughters, 14 and 11. All were able to walk away from the collision.
The driver has been booked into Snohomish County Jail for investigation of vehicular assault.
Friday’s accident was the fifth time since Oct. 28 that a State Patrol car from the Snohomish County area was hit by other drivers, Leary said.
In one case, a driver hit a patch of ice and struck two patrol cars near Alderwood mall. In another case, a patrol car was just south of Canyon Park on northbound I-405 when it was hit. The fourth incident involved a suspected drunken driver running into a patrol car on State Avenue at 88th Street NE in Marysville.
Leary said he couldn’t remember a time “when we have lost that many cars in such a short period of time.”
The accidents take a toll, he said.
“We don’t have an endless supply of spare cars,” he said. “They are very expensive.”
However, it’s fortunate none of the troopers sustained more serious injuries, he said.
The State Patrol is asking witnesses of the collision to call Detective Craig Cardinal at 360-658-2588. It’s a standard request when the State Patrol’s Major Accident Investigation Team looks into a collision, Leary said.
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446, firstname.lastname@example.org.