JBLM soldier dies after van crashes on I-5 in Lakewood

StaffFebruary 6, 2014 

COURTESY PHOTO — Washington State Patrol

A soldier died and others were injured after a van returning them to Joint Base Lewis-McChord following a recent deployment to Afghanistan crashed on Interstate 5 in Lakewood on Thursday, the base said.

Officials did not immediately release the name of the 28-year-old who died at a hospital after the crash.

The soldiers, with the 7th Infantry Division, were being driven from SeaTac Airport when the one-vehicle crash happened about 4:30 p.m. on southbound Interstate 5 just north of North Thorne Lane Southwest, the State Patrol said.

It was not clear how many soldiers were in the van. The State Patrol said 11 service members and a civilian driver were involved.

Lt. Col. Joe Sowers, Public Affairs Officer for the 7th Infantry Division, said he was told 10 soldiers were involved in the crash. His understanding was that five soldiers were injured, one seriously, and four had been examined and released.

Trooper Guy Gill said the seriously injured man was in stable condition as of 8 p.m.

The driver lost control of the 24-seat vehicle and hit a concrete barrier, knocking over a light pole, Gill said.

Investigators did not immediately know what caused the driver to lose control, but there was no indication the driver was impaired, Gill said.

alexis.krell@thenewstribune.com

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