A man is suspected of driving under the influence when he was involved in a four-car collision in Marysville that sent a woman to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. (Marysville Police Department)

A man is suspected of driving under the influence when he was involved in a four-car collision in Marysville that sent a woman to the hospital with life-threatening injuries. (Marysville Police Department)

Heroin linked to Marysville crash that hospitalized woman

She needed emergency surgery after her car was rear-ended near Highway 9.

MARYSVILLE — Police are investigating whether a driver was high on heroin before a four-car crash in Marysville on Tuesday that sent a woman to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Marysville police responded around 1 p.m. to the scene in the 8700 block of 64th Street NE, near the intersection with Highway 9. A woman was in a Toyota Corolla, slumped over the center console and apparently trapped. The Toyota had heavy front and back end damage and was spilling gasoline onto the road.

She was transported to Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, where she underwent emergency surgery. Her condition was not immediately available Wednesday morning.

The suspect’s car, a Porsche Cayenne, also sustained heavy damage. A witness who called 911 reported she saw the Porsche driving erratically shortly before the crash. It was swerving across the center line and the driver appeared to be intoxicated, the witness told an officer.

Police arrested the suspect, a 49-year-old Arlington man, for investigation of vehicular assault and driving under the influence. Based on an initial investigation, Marysville officer Brandon Blake wrote, the driver of the Porsche likely rear-ended the Toyota at a high speed. The Toyota crashed into two more vehicles in front of it, then spun and hit another car. The occupants of the other two vehicles also were taken to a hospital with injuries.

A man who reported he was the driver appeared distracted when he was asked for his vehicle’s registration. He “lackadaisically flipped through various receipts and paperwork multiple times for an extended amount of time” — to the point that Blake asked the man to leave the paperwork, Blake wrote.

When Blake questioned the suspect, he “was unable to articulate any meaningful details as to how the crash occurred,” according to the police report. His hands were twitching, his eyes were watery, his pupils were constricted and his speech was slowed, Blake wrote.

The driver reported: “I was driving when I heard a bang and then there were two collisions.” He couldn’t say at first what direction he was going, Blake noted. Eventually the suspect said east, toward Highway 9. He also reportedly said he was going to keep going straight at the intersection, even though drivers can only turn left or right.

When Blake asked again which way he was going, the suspect said he was going north. Blake asked if that meant he was in the left turn lane when the collision happened.

“I suppose so,” the man reportedly said.

The passenger told Blake he had been picked up by the driver on 164th Street NE, about seven miles to the north. He said they were going to pick up the driver’s wife in Arlington before heading to Bellevue. He couldn’t explain why he would be picked up, driven south to 64th Street NE, only to go north again to Arlington. The passenger claimed he was looking down when the collision happened and didn’t know how it occurred.

The driver agreed to take field sobriety tests. When he went to the starting position for a walk-and-turn test, he allegedly missed putting his heel to his toe — and then missed making the heel-toe connection on the first step. He also reportedly lost his balance when turning around and miscounted the number of steps he was supposed to take.

The suspect also blew into a breathalyzer, which indicated he hadn’t been drinking.

Police arrested the man and searched him. In his pocket, there allegedly was a yellow plastic baggie with a small amount of black tar-like substance. At the Marysville police station, a test indicated the substance could be heroin. Police received a judge’s permission to get a blood sample from the suspect and submitted it the Washington State Toxicology Laboratory for testing.

The suspect previously was convicted of DUI twice, once in 1990 and again in 2008.

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