Wrong-way driver dies in crash near Smokey Point

ARLINGTON — Emergency crews have reopened all northbound lanes of I-5 just north of Smokey Point after a wrong-way crash early this morning that left one person dead and two others seriously hurt.

The crash happened about 2 a.m. A Volkswagen Jetta was northbound on the freeway when it was hit head-on by a Suzuki Esteem traveling the wrong way, Washington State Patrol trooper Kirk Rudeen said.

Both drivers were likely traveling about 70 mph.

“It was a horrific collision. Both cars were destroyed,” Rudeen said.

The Suzuki’s driver, a 32-year-old Shelton man, died at the scene. Two women, both of Sedro-Woolley, suffered serious injuries and were taken to an Everett hospital. Their injuries aren’t believed to be life-threatening, Rudeen said.

Investigators continued this morning to try to determine what caused the man to drive the wrong way. Witnesses reported seeing the man enter the freeway about a mile north of the crash.

“We don’t know if alcohol was a factor or if he got confused. We have to wait for the medical examiner,” Rudeen said.

Two lanes of the freeway were closed for about three hours.

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