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MERCER ISLAND, Wash. — Three people were killed in a car crash on Interstate 90 in Mercer Island early Monday morning.
The crash was caused by a wrong-way driver who got onto eastbound I-90 and struck another car. The driver who caused the accident and both the driver and passenger in the other vehicle were killed, according to Washington State Patrol Trooper Rick Johnson.
Eastbound I-90 reopened at around 5:30 a.m. The highway was blocked for hours due to an investigation into the crash.
“How fast that person was going, I knew that was … honestly I knew that was lethal,” said Christopher Yang, who said he saw the wrong-way driver as he was driving east on I-90 to pick up some late-night food. “[The wrong-way driver] was about one lane over from where I was, in the far left lane.”
He said he saw a sedan zoom past him.
“I saw someone driving in the HOV lane very fast in the opposite direction,” said Yang. “Honestly, it looked like he was going at least 90 plus,” said Yang.
Yang said that is when he called 911.
“Just to let them know, because I knew there was a few cars behind me as well.”
Shortly after picking up his food, he said he returned to the interstate and his heart sank at the sight of first responders.
“Not even five minutes later, I drove back the other way,” he said and showed KING 5 the video he recorded on his phone of the scene. “I saw smoke and police lights and I just kind of instantly knew that something tragic happened.”
Troopers said the driver at fault was 30-year-old Ari Jimenez, and that the two victims were 22-year-old Austin Tsai of Bellevue and 23-year-old Bugeon Jim of Berkely, Calif.
“Was it disorientation or was it impairment?” asked Yang.
That is a question troopers are also working to answer. Johnson told KING 5 there are “very glaring Wrong Way signs on all ramps so can’t blame this on signing.”
KING 5 confirmed there are in signs, at least on the two exit ramps east of the crash.
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