A high-speed crash of a Chevy pick-up on Mountain Highway claimed two lives Monday evening in Graham.
One individual, believed to be the driver, has been identified as Eugene Quillen, 42, of Spanaway. Quillen’s passenger has not been determined according to a press memo issued by the Washington State Patrol early Tuesday morning, but officials at the scene said the second victim was a woman in her forties from Ashford.
WSP Trooper Christian Wilson told The Mountain News that the accident occurred shortly after 6 pm at the intersection of 260th St and Mountain Hwy (SR 7).
Wilson said that the deceased were traveling northbound on Mountain Highway and apparently accelerated to a high rate of speed after the light turned yellow, trying to beat the red light.
“A southbound vehicle was making a left turn onto 260th and the pick-up came to the intersection as the light was changing,” said Wilson. “They accelerated, and while they were going around the car making a legal turn, they apparently lost control and slammed into the light pole.”
The impact was horrific. The pick-up was totaled, with the front end completely twisted and compacted up to the cab. In addition, officials were still extinguishing flames from the vehicle several hours after the accident.
Further, the light pole was knocked from its moorings and as it was wrenched from the ground the surrounding asphalt was torn, causing a two-inch wide crack that spread for over ten feet from the pole. However, electrical crews were able to restore service by 10 pm.
Workers at the scene estimated that the vehicle was traveling about 85 mph when it struck the pole. Officials also said that there were no skid marks on the roadway, indicating that the vehicle did not attempt to brake before crashing.
“This tragedy could have been avoided if they had only slowed down,” said Wilson.
The WSP also said that the involvement of drugs or alcohol was not known, but officials at the scene said they found beer cans in the bed of the pick-up.
The WSP released a press memo on March 11, 2011 announcing that the deceased passenger was Michelle Angela Anderson, 41.