Three children, their father and a suspected DUI driver suffered injuries in a head-on crash late Thursday on Highway 9 in Lake Stevens. (Lake Stevens Police Department)

Three children, their father and a suspected DUI driver suffered injuries in a head-on crash late Thursday on Highway 9 in Lake Stevens. (Lake Stevens Police Department)

Suspected drunken driver crashes, injuring 3 children

Police expected to arrest the woman, who was hospitalized. The children were passengers in another car.

LAKE STEVENS — A suspected drunken driver caused a head-on crash that injured three kids and two adults Thursday evening in Lake Stevens, police said.

One girl, 7, was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition.

Her condition was listed as serious in intensive care by Friday afternoon, a hospital spokeswoman said.

The driver suspected of causing the crash has been caught for traffic violations at least eight times — speeding, distracted driving, DUI, driving without an ignition interlock device — all in the past four years.

The woman’s southbound Toyota Tacoma ricocheted off a guardrail at 8:27 p.m. on Highway 9 at South Lake Stevens Road, according to Lake Stevens police. The pickup crashed head-on into a white Ford Explorer driven by a Lake Stevens man.

Three kids, ages 7, 8, and 11, were in the Ford.

All five people suffered injuries that were treated at hospitals. A helicopter airlifted the youngest child to Seattle.

Officers expected to arrest the Toyota driver for investigation of vehicular assault.

Police initially reported an inaccurate time for the crash as later in the evening than it actually occurred.

The suspect, 26, of Arlington, remained in a hospital with a possibly broken ankle as of Friday, police Cmdr. Jeff Beazizo said. Officers were granted a warrant to draw her blood to test for intoxicants.

In her past driving offenses, she has often paid off her tickets swiftly, in full, without contesting her guilt.

State troopers ticketed her for going 25 mph over the limit in August 2015. The charge and fine were later reduced. She paid $216.

She was arrested for driving under the influence in 2015, served a day in jail and listened to a panel of DUI crash victims about the damage that crime can leave in its wake. She complied with the terms of her probation for two years, by not drinking and driving.

But she kept racking up tickets. She was handed a $136 fine for using her phone while driving in October 2016, then got another $136 ticket a week later, for going too fast for the road conditions.

The woman was given another ticket, for $296, for speeding egregiously enough that a crossing guard on Mercer Island filed a report in October 2017. Her probation in the DUI ended in July 2018.

She was handed a $550 ticket for driving without an ignition interlock device in May 2019 in the Everett area. The device prevents the engine from starting, unless the driver can pass a breathalyzer test.

And last month, on Aug. 15, she was given a $128 ticket for speeding 10 mph over the limit.

Police noted smelling “an odor of intoxicants” on her Thursday night.

Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; Twitter: @snocaleb.

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