Woman could face charges in I-90 crash

December 31, 2009

By Warren Kagarise

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A crash near Preston caused by a suspected drunken driver sent two people to Harborview Medical Center with life-threatening injuries Dec. 15.

Drivers of an Acura and a Honda Civic were rushed to the hospital with life-threatening injuries after their cars collided head on Dec. 15 on Interstate 90 near Preston. Photos contributed

Drivers of an Acura and a Honda Civic were rushed to the hospital with life-threatening injuries after their cars collided head on Dec. 15 on Interstate 90 near Preston. Photo contributed

Authorities said the driver — Janet Bumgardner, 53, of Newcastle — was eastbound in a silver Acura when her vehicle crossed the center median that separates eastbound and westbound Interstate 90. The accident occurred just east of the Preston exit.

A Washington State Patrol trooper witnessed the Acura cross the median, then drive down the hill and continue in the middle westbound lane — traveling in the opposite direction. The driver swerved right to avoid a collision with a tractor-trailer and instead collided with a Honda Civic. The accident occurred at about 12:30 p.m.

Bumgardner and the driver of the Civic — Rachel McNaul, a 29-year-old North Bend resident — were rushed to Harborview in critical condition.

Authorities said alcohol could be a factor in the collision. Bumgardner has a prior DUI conviction.

The Washington State Patrol is still investigating the case, and officials from the King County Prosecutor’s Office said charges would not be filed until the investigation is complete.

The state patrol closed two westbound lanes for about two and a half hours to investigate the crash.

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