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Tower Down - 08.03.20 (WA) UPDATED 08.20.20


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Man Killed in Crash Between Tow Truck and Semi Near Salkum; One Passenger Airlifted to Hospital



A tow truck attempting to make a U-turn on U.S. Highway 12 near Salkum early Monday morning was T-boned by a semi truck, killing the driver of the tow truck and sending the three others involved to the hospital with injuries, according to the Washington State Patrol.


The WSP did not identify the deceased man, who is from Cle Elum, and determined the cause of the crash as an “unsafe U-turn.”


According to the narrative summary provided by the state patrol, at 1:44 a.m. a tow truck with two passengers was traveling westbound on U.S. Highway 12 approaching Stowell Road near milepost 78 when it attempted to make a u-turn but was struck by an oncoming semi-truck.


“Both vehicles were traveling westbound prior to the collision,” Trooper Dakota Russell, who was on the scene Monday morning, said. “The tow truck … did not see the semi-truck behind them thus causing a T-bone collision,” 

Injuries were sustained by the semi truck driver, a 70-year-old Napavine man, and the two tow truck passengers, a 35-year-old Olympia woman and a 38-year-old Rainier woman, according to the WSP.


The Napavine man was transported to Providence Centralia Hospital, the Olympia woman — who was not wearing a seatbelt, according to the WSP —  was transported to Morton General Hospital. The Rainier woman was airlifted to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver.


It is unknown if drugs or alcohol played a role in the collision as of now, according to the state patrol.


Eyewitness Jodi Hornby wrote the following account of the aftermath of the crash, “At 1:40 a.m. Jon and I jumped out of bed because we thought we heard a plane crash. I ran outside, saw corn and glass all over the road, heard a neighbor say, ‘We need help out here!’ and called Lewis County Dispatch.”


Hornby, who reportedly spoke with one of the passengers in the tow truck, wrote that the Olympia woman was sleeping in the car being towed at the time of the crash.


“She was sleeping in the passenger seat of the car being towed,” Hornby wrote. “Miraculously, the car came off the trailer and landed perfectly upright, right next to the flatbed.” 




UPDATED 08.10.20


Man Identified in Fatal Car Crash Between Tow Truck, Semi Truck Near Salkum


The Cle Elum driver who was killed when his vehicle was struck by a semi truck when he attempted to make a U-turn on U.S. Highway 12 near Salkum last Monday has been identified by the Lewis County Coroner’s Office.


Rodney A. Petroff, 64, was identified as the tow truck driver traveling westbound on Highway 12 at 1:44 a.m. on Aug. 3 and attempted to turn the vehicle around but was hit by a semi truck who was approaching his vehicle from behind.

The Washington State Patrol still has not determined whether drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash.


A 38-year-old Rainier woman who was in the passenger seat of the tow truck was airlifted to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver while a 35-year-old Olympia woman who was in the vehicle being towed without a seatbelt on, was taken to Morton General Hospital.


The 70-year-old Napavine man driving the semi truck was taken to Providence Centralia Hospital with injuries.



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