MONROE — Two people were killed in a fiery head-on crash with a dump truck Thursday on U.S. 2 east of Monroe, according to the Washington State Patrol.
Troopers shut down the highway in both directions for hours.
Just before 1 p.m., a westbound Mercedes-Benz ML350 SUV crossed over the center line near Sofie Road, crashing head-on into the eastbound dump truck, state trooper Rocky Oliphant said. The SUV caught fire. The driver and a passenger inside were killed.
The driver of the dump truck was injured and taken to a hospital by ambulance, according to state troopers.
The U.S. 2 Safety Coalition has been pushing for improvements on the dangerous road for decades. Since 2016, there have been at least 16 fatal crashes on U.S. 2 between Everett and Stevens Pass, according to a Washington state Traffic Safety Commission map.
The highway is the main route from the Everett area to rural communities to the east, and backups can limit emergency responders’ access.
The state Department of Transportation has invested millions of dollars to make it safer in recent years in Snohomish County, though many of those improvements have focused on the more highly trafficked stretch west of Monroe: rumble strips, physical median barriers and wider medians.
When asked about the highway, WSDOT spokesperson Bart Treece said it’s difficult to compare the danger level to other roadways across the state.
“It’s not an apples to apples comparison,” he said.
On Thursday afternoon, an eastbound detour was established on Old Owen Road. Westbound traffic was stopped at Fern Bluff Road.
Officials expected the shutdown to last into the evening.