KENNEWICK - Road rage triggered two separate accidents Thursday on Interstate 82 and sent four people to the hospital.
The accidents occurred around 6 p.m., about 1 1/2 miles east of the Badger Road exit in Benton County.
The wreck happened after a vehicle heading eastbound cut off a Pathfinder driven by Jonathan A. Harmon, 20, of Pasco, said Washington State Patrol Trooper Rob Morris.
Morris said the passenger in the Pathfinder, Abel Madrigal, 20, of Kennewick, gave an "inappropriate hand gesture" to the other car.
"We obviously encourage people not to make these kinds of gestures. Just back off and be on your way. We have this all too often," Morris said.
After the hand gesture, the driver of the other car reportedly tapped its brakes, which caused Harmon to lose control of the Pathfinder and the vehicle to roll onto its side in the median, Morris said.
Madrigal was taken to Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland, where he was listed in critical condition Thursday night.
"I wish it was me (who was injured) instead, man," said Harmon at the crash site.
The rollover prompted another accident in the eastbound lanes of I-82.
A Pontiac Bonneville, driven by Brittany N. Gonzales, 21, of Benton City, rear-ended a Toyota Highlander, driven by Max T. Dreisbach, 19, of Kennewick. The State Patrol reported that Dreisbach slowed down when approaching the rollover.
Gonzales was taken to Kennewick General Hospital, as were two passengers, Kim R. Gonzales, 23, and Destiny L. George, 21, both of Kennewick. Morris said they had minor injuries. Dreisbach was not hurt.
Deputy Chief Mike Harris of Benton Fire District 1 said the rollover accident was his agency's third of the day. He said an earlier wreck was caused by rubber-necking and following too closely. He encouraged drivers to slow down even though the weather is nice and allow plenty of space between vehicles.
About 5:40 p.m. Thursday, a Connell man was injured in a two-car crash north of Pasco, the Washington State Patrol reported.
Timothy L. Wetzel, 30, of Kahlotus, was driving his 2001 Dodge Ram pickup when he failed to stop at the intersection of Ironwood and Garfield roads, the State Patrol reported.
Wetzel struck a 1989 Toyota pickup driven by Jose Paniagua Silva, 64, of Connell. Silva was taken to Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland where his condition was not known late Thursday.
Wetzel was not injured and was cited for failing to stop at a stop sign, the state patrol reported.
* Dori O'Neal contributed to this report.