NINE MILE FALLS, Wash – Five people are recovering after a serious three-car crash Monday night, on a busy highway north of Spokane.
It happened just before 7:00 p.m. on Highway 291 near Nine Mile Falls, when Washington State Patrol says a 15-year-old boy with his permit was speeding as he came into a 40 M.P.H. corner on the windy, two-lane road. He lost control, bumped a car, and then hit a third car head-on.
All three of the teenage passengers were taken to Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane by medical helicopter. The teenage driver and a 35-year-old woman he hit head-on were taken by ambulance. The other driver who was bumped was not injured.
As of Tuesday afternoon, because the teenagers are underage, their names have not been released, so KHQ cannot check on their condition at the hospital. However, there is some good news: the 35-year-old woman who was taken there is doing better, and has been released.
"We saw a helicopter and a bunch of ambulances, and we knew it was pretty serious," said Krista Bossio, whose family lives nearby. "So luckily we didn't make that stop we were supposed to."
Bossio had been driving on that same stretch of highway just minutes before the crash happened, and had originally planned to make an extra stop that would have delayed her by a few minutes – but never did.
The husband of one of the women involved was reportedly following his wife in a separate vehicle, and watched the whole thing happen. He left his van parked at Bossio's family home while he went with his wife to the hospital.
A Washington State Patrol spokesperson tells KHQ's Kelsey Watts they are investigating the crash as a vehicular assault, but no charges have been filed. While they believe the teenage driver was speeding, spokesperson Jeff Sevigny could not say how fast the driver may have been going, as the investigation is still ongoing.
Per Washington law, if you have your permit, you must have someone who has had his or her license for five years in the car with you. But there were no adults in the car, only three other teenage passengers.
"Really, honestly, there should be an adult or someone over 21 with that person, because he was obviously going way too fast," Bossio added. "He's a child driving a car that could kill people and put his friends in danger."
Once WSP's investigation is complete, the prosecutor will decide whether any charges should be filed.