PATERSON, Wash. — A pre-dawn collision Monday morning between a semi and a Honda passenger car left one farm worker dead and two more in the hospital with injuries.
Juan Carlos Cruz, 22, of Hermiston, Ore., was dead at the scene when Washington State Patrol troopers responded about 6:30 a.m. to the crash on State Route 221, two miles north of Paterson, an unincorporated Benton County community on the banks of the Columbia River, said Sgt. Dave DeVere.
Cruz was riding in the back seat of a 1998 Honda Civic stopped in the northbound lane of the highway waiting for a chance to make a left turn onto a gravel farm access road, DeVere said. A 2013 International semi, also headed north, rear-ended the Civic, buckling the back bumper all the way to the front seats, DeVere said.
All three men were family members, according to the Tri-City Herald.
The driver of the Honda, Jose L. Rogue-Lopez, 30, of Hermiston, and the front passenger Francisco Cruz, 18, of Hermiston, were taken to Kadlec Medical Center in Richland.
Rogue-Lopez suffered chest trauma and was flown by helicopter to the hospital where he was listed in satisfactory condition Monday evening. Francisco Cruz, who suffered a head injury, was taken by ambulance to the hospital, where he was treated and released, DeVere said.
The driver of the semi, Shawn E. Miller, 52 of Pasco, was not injured.
The Honda was a total loss, while the semi received reportable damage and was towed.
The cause is under investigation, though the semi driver told investigators he did not see the Honda because he was trying to avoid some farm equipment traveling past him on the highway in the other direction, DeVere said.
Drugs and alcohol are not suspected, DeVere said.