This photo shows the damage to a Monroe woman’s car after a rollover collision on Highway 522 in 2018, leading to a $2.75 million settlement with the state. (David Crump)

This photo shows the damage to a Monroe woman’s car after a rollover collision on Highway 522 in 2018, leading to a $2.75 million settlement with the state. (David Crump)

State pays $2.75 million to Monroe woman in ‘highway of death’ crash

In 2018, Kara Janneh was behind a state Department of Transportation truck when it attempted an illegal U-turn on Highway 522.

MALTBY — The state has agreed to pay $2.75 million to a Monroe woman who suffered serious injuries in a rollover crash with a state Department of Transportation vehicle on Highway 522 in 2018.

Kara Janneh’s lawyer said the case is indicative of a systemic safety issue on the road that has been called the “highway of death.” He argued it speaks to the need for more concrete barriers on that road.

On March 5, 2018, Janneh was driving her Jeep Cheroke east on Highway 522 near Echo Lake Road. Her 2-year-old son was in his car seat in the back. Driving in front of her was a Washington State Department of Transportation pickup, according to her lawsuit filed in King County Superior Court.

The pickup driver tried to make an illegal U-turn in this stretch of road with two, spaced-out yellow lines and rumble strips in between. Janneh had “no time to stop,” her lawyer David Crump said.

“This isn’t just an accident,” Crump said, claiming the WSDOT employee was trained to make that illegal U-turn.

Her Cherokee went airborne and rolled over twice, before landing on its wheels. Janneh’s first thought was the safety of her son, who she worried was dead, the lawyer said. But he escaped major injury.

Janneh suffered serious harm, however, including a traumatic brain injury, Crump said.

In 2019, she sued the state Department of Transportation. Over three years later, in September of this year, the state conceded the crash was its fault in court filings. Shortly after, the lawsuit was settled for $2.75 million.

Janneh was represented by Crump and Edward Harper of Kirkland-based Harper Law.

In an email, a WSDOT spokesperson confirmed the settlement, but declined to comment on the case.

In the 3 miles between Paradise Lake Road near Maltby and the Snohomish River Bridge, the highway is just two lanes. This stretch of highway is notorious for serious crashes.

In 2014, a couple in one car and a baby girl in another died in a head-on crash in the same area. The families sued the state, calling the highway “inherently dangerous” and pushing for median barriers between the lanes. The state settled that case for $3 million without admitting liability.

And in August, prosecutors charged a woman with vehicular homicide in a cross-over crash that killed one and seriously injured another on Highway 522 just west of the Snohomish River Bridge in 2020.

A major transportation package passed at the state Legislature this year included millions to widen Highway 522 between Maltby and the Snohomish River Bridge, where all of these crashes occurred.

Jake Goldstein-Street: 425-339-3439; jake.goldstein-street@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @GoldsteinStreet.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

A Cessna 150 crashed north of Paine Field on Friday evening, Feb. 16, 2024, in Mukilteo, Washington. The pilot survived without serious injury. (Courtesy of Richard Newman.)
‘I’m stuck in the trees’: 911 call recounts plane crash near Paine Field

Asad Ali was coming in for a landing in a Cessna 150 when he crashed into woods south of Mukilteo. Then he called 911 — for 48 minutes.

Everett
Snohomish County likely to feel more like winter, beginning Monday

Get ready for a mix of rain and snow this week, along with cooler temperatures.

Anthony Boggess
Arlington man sentenced for killing roommate who offered shelter

Anthony Boggess, 33, reported hearing the voices of “demons” the night he strangled James Thrower, 65.

Ryan Rafter appears in court for sentencing Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024, at Snohomish County Superior Court in Everett, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Man sentenced to life in prison for murder of Everett father

In April 2022, Ryan Rafter, 42, shot Christopher Buck, 29, to death after breaking in to his home to steal drugs.

Marysville
Driver strikes, kills Marysville man who was crossing I-5 in Seattle

The man’s car had broken down near Mercer Street. Troopers reported that he was struck when he tried to cross the freeway.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Darrington in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Police: Darrington woman stabbed, buried 5-year-old daughter

The woman reportedly told investigators she was hearing voices before she killed her young daughter on Valentine’s Day.

In this Feb. 5, 2018, file photo a Boeing 737 MAX 7 is displayed during a debut for employees and media of the new jet in Renton, Wash. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
FAA gives Boeing 90 days to develop plan to fix quality, safety issues

The agency’s ultimatum comes a day after a meeting with CEO Dave Calhoun and other top Boeing officials in Washington, D.C.

A view of one of the potential locations of the new Aquasox stadium on Monday, Feb. 26, 2024 in Everett, Washington. The site sits between Hewitt Avenue, Broadway, Pacific Avenue and the railroad. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
20 businesses could be demolished for downtown Everett stadium

Some business owners say the city didn’t tell them of plans for a new AquaSox stadium that could displace their businesses.

A person walks out of the Snohomish County Corrections building on Wednesday, Jan. 3, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Snohomish County Jail review finds no fault in Florida inmate’s death

David Koeppen, 38, was the third inmate in two months to die in the jail. He was being held on murder charges.

Everett
Snohomish County pharmacy tech accused of stealing 2,500 opioid pills

Rachel Langdon stole oxycodone while working at a Snohomish County pharmacy, according to state Department of Health allegations.

Sen. John McCoy, D-Tulalip, left, a member of the Tulalip Tribes of Washington, speaks Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017, as Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, right, looks on at the Capitol in Olympia, Wash. After the speech, Inslee signed a bill sponsored by McCoy that seeks to improve oral health on Indian reservations in Washington state. The measure is the first bill the governor has signed this legislative session and it allows tribes to use federal funding for dental therapists. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Curriculum on state tribes to be renamed after late Tulalip legislator

On Tuesday, John McCoy’s former colleagues in the Senate honored the late lawmaker by passing House Bill 1879.

Lynnwood
Man stabbed, killed inside Lynnwood-area condo

Detectives were looking to identify suspects in a killing Monday night at the Brio Condominiums.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.