Crash kills Tacoma couple

I-90: Investigators believe driver fell asleep; son, 2 other passengers injured

June 30, 2010 

A Tacoma couple was killed Tuesday in a car crash on Interstate 90 near North Bend, the Washington State Patrol said.

Sean P. Mitchell, 29, and Lindsey M. Mitchell, 26, were headed home with their son and two friends after a camping trip in Eastern Washington, the State Patrol said.

Sean Mitchell apparently fell asleep at the wheel about 6:45 a.m., and the 2005 Dodge Neon left the road, striking a guardrail and cement bridge railing.

The impact threw the car back across the lanes of traffic, with the wreckage stopping on the opposite shoulder.

“It seems like the driver just fell asleep and drifted off to the left shoulder and struck the guardrail, then struck the actual cement bridge abutment,” trooper Cliff Pratt said.

Sean Mitchell, who was driving, and Lindsey Mitchell, was in the back seat directly behind him, were killed. Also in the back seat were the couple’s 4-year-old son and a 15-year-old boy from Spanaway.

The child suffered minor injuries and the teen suffered a broken thigh bone and internal injuries.

A 22-year-old Spanaway man in the front seat suffered minor injuries.

The Spanaway man and teen are family friends of the Mitchells.

The three surviving passengers were taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Everyone in the car was wearing a seat belt, investigators said.

“No amount of seat belts, air bags or any other type of safety device would have helped these people with the high-energy impact they had with an immovable object,” Pratt said.

The crash closed westbound I-90 at the crash scene for more than three hours. Westbound I-90 reopened about four hours after the wreck.

KIRO-TV contributed to this report.

Stacey Mulick: 253-597-8268 Joyce Chen: 253-597-8426

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