Semi-truck driver first at serious accident

By Dori O'Neal, Tri-City HeraldApril 20, 2013 

A semi-truck driver heading from Sunnyside to Boardman on Friday night encountered a horrific sight on Plymouth Road.

Phillip Underhill, 46, of Kennewick, saw a car on its top in the ditch about 11:30 p.m., he said. He called 911 and went to see what he could do to help.

Three people had apparently been ejected from the vehicle when it crashed, and one dog was dead when he arrived, Underhill said.

"Even before I got to the scene I could smell alcohol in the air; it was that strong," Underhill told the Herald.

The victims appeared to be in their 40s. One man was conscious and still holding a beer can, Underhill said. A woman was unconscious with a broken hand. He said he helped another man, who appeared to be hurt the worst, stay on his side so he wouldn't drown in his own blood.

"I found blankets and covered them all up to stay warm because it was cold out there that time of night," Underhill said. "I felt bad the dog died."

Three ambulances and Benton County deputies responded. All three victims were taken to Kadlec Medical Center in Richland, but one had to be transported by rescue helicopter, said Sgt. Caughey of the Benton County Sheriff's Department.

The sheriff's department declined to release the victims' names, because next of kin have yet to be notified. All the victims are from Pendleton, Caughey said.

"It looks like all three people and one dog were ejected from the vehicle and alcohol is believed to be involved," Caughey said. The accident remains under investigation.

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