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Speed caused 30-vehicle pileup during storm - Jan 2007

April 23 2007 at 3:46 PM

Jack  (Premier Login hyak)

Speed caused 30-vehicle pileup during storm

02:21 PM PST on Thursday, January 18, 2007

SEATTLE - The 30-vehicle collision that blocked the westbound lanes of I-90 for more than five hours on Tuesday was due to 70 mph speeds, the Washington State Patrol said Thursday.

Troopers working Snoqualmie Pass this week during the snowstorms responded to dozens of collisions. However, moments before a semi lost control and jackknifed, speed was clocked at 70 mph on a trooper's radar, a statement from the WSP said.

The flow of westbound traffic was all moving in excess of 70 mph, the trooper confirmed. Despite heavy snowfall and strong gusty winds, traffic failed to slow appropriately.

The semi operated by Atlas Van Lines was driven by Shawn R Biggs, 27, of Spokane. Biggs has been cited 18 times in the past, five times for driving on a suspended driver's license and once for DUI, the WSP said.

Biggs was cited for negligent driving for causing this collision, which resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.

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Family shares story after surviving 30-car pileup

April 23 2007, 3:47 PM 

Every winter, cold weather sweeps in worries of avalanche dangers and traffic troubles on I-90 at Snoqualmie Pass.

And the danger proved all too real when slick roads caused semi trucks to spin out of control and trigger a massive 30-car pileup just east of North Bend earlier in the week.

One Seattle firefighter, who has seen his share of disasters over the years, remembers feeling helpless as he and his family pin balled all over the road in the pileup.

"It was pretty scary having my family there," Grant Bonham said. "Being out of control, I couldn't do anything to help 'em. Each car that hit us, I didn't know if it was going to kill us or, I didn't know what was going to happen."

Bonham says he remembers being hit at least six times.

"One car came and hit us from the side, and another car came and glass flew," said Kelsey Bonham, Grant's wife.

In the middle of the chaos, Bonham says all he and his wife could think about was their three-year-old son, Gavin, in the back seat.

"The first part of it that was the most terrifying was the semi when it was jack-knifing because it was coming to Gavin's door," said Kelsey Bonham. "I mean as a mother, you don't want anything to happen to your child."

"The semi driver was incredible, and he was able to pull it out straight, and we thought 'Whoo!' We were able to take a breath for a second," she said.

Overall, there was a lot of damage but only a few minor injuries.

Kelsey said she knew her little one was OK when he turned to her and said 'hey pumpkin!' after the crash.

The Bonham family says they're thankful they were able to walk away from the accident.

"I definitely will remember this as I respond to emergencies at work, you bet," Grant Bonham said.

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On the World-Wide-Web since 1997

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