Snoqualmie Pass closed by dozens of accidents

SEATTLE – Vehicle collisions and spinouts on snowy Interstate 90 across Snoqualmie Pass prompted highway authorities to close the road in both directions for hours late Wednesday.

As many as 50 to 60 vehicles, including tractor-trailer rigs, were involved in collisions in the westbound lanes near the summit, State Patrol trooper Jeff Merrill said.

The eastbound lanes of I-90 were closed near North Bend, about 35 miles east of Seattle, because of a number of big rig spinouts near the Snoqualmie Pass summit. The westbound lanes were closed near Cle Elum, on the east slopes of the Cascade Mountains, the state Department of Transportation said.

Some of the westbound crashes involved injuries, at least four of which Merrill described as serious. A procession of medic units threaded its way through the jumbled vehicles to the injured.

It was snowing heavily when the I-90 accidents occurred about 3:30 p.m.

Associated Press

Olympia: Ethics panel raps state lawmaker

The Legislative Ethics Board on Wednesday held that state Rep. Bill Eickmeyer, D-Belfair, used his public facilities to do work for his outside employer, the Sound Institute of Family and Children’s Services.

The panel said Eickmeyer’s legislative assistant placed a variety of business phone calls and wrote letters involving the institute, where the lawmaker is executive director. Some of the work last year was done at the lawmaker’s direction, the board said.

State law bars the use of public facilities, such as long-distance phones or staff, for outside business.

The board said a “letter of instruction” will serve as the penalty in this case, along with a requirement that Eickmeyer undergo ethics training on personal use of public resources.

Associated Press

Woodland: 12-year-old driver dies of injuries

A 12-year-old Woodland boy died Tuesday from injuries sustained in a car accident Monday afternoon.

The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office said Jake L. Fry was behind the wheel of a 1993 Ford Taurus that collided with a Toyota SUV on North Pekin Road near Woodland about 3 p.m.

Fry was being treated at the pediatric intensive care unit at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland. The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office announced that he died Tuesday evening.

It remained unclear Tuesday why the 12-year-old was driving the car. According to the sheriff’s office, witnesses stated that the Taurus was traveling at a high rate of speed at the time of the accident.

The Columbian

Seattle: Ship spills 42 gallons of fuel in bay

About 42 gallons of fuel spilled from a bulk grain carrier being refueled by a barge on Elliott Bay early Wednesday, the Coast Guard reported.

Another 126 gallons that spilled were contained on the deck of the ship, the Songa Hua, said Petty Officer David Marin, a Coast Guard spokesman.

The fuel “burped” from a vent on the ship as it was being fueled from a barge, said Larry Altose, a spokesman for the state Ecology Department.

The crew of the barge and tug deployed a 2,000-foot boom to contain most of the spill.

The fuel was believed to be bunker fuel, which is heavy enough to be recovered by skimmers, Altose said. The Coast Guard and the state Ecology Department were overseeing the cleanup.

Associated Press

Longview: Leak sends acid 45 feet in the air

A sulfuric acid leak at Weyerhaeuser’s main Longview plant shot the liquid 45 feet in the air Monday morning after a pipe’s valve malfunctioned while a truck was unloading it.

The leak occurred in a decontamination area, and a crew of 15 hazard management workers were nearby to clean the spill up within three hours.

The sulfuric acid, a corrosive chemical that can irritate the skin, was diluted with water and soda ash. No one was injured.

“It was contained promptly,” Weyerhaeuser spokeswoman Kate Tate said Tuesday.

The decontamination area had a built-in shower, which made cleanup easier. Otherwise it would have taken a fleet of fire trucks to deal with the spill.

The Daily News

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