Three people killed in a two-vehicle crash on Interstate 82 west of Kennewick were identified Wednesday as family members from Chelan County.
The crash shortly after 7 p.m. Tuesday near milepost 6 claimed the lives of Artemio Vasquez-Perez, 54; his wife, Celia G. Vasquez, 50; and Adela L. Trujillo-Lopez, 71, according to the Benton County Coroner’s Office.
The couple were from Peshastin, a small town on Highway 2 about 20 miles from Wenatchee, officials said. Trujillo-Lopez, mother to one of the victims, was from Manson, near Chelan. Vasquez-Perez reportedly owned a painting company and had lived in Peshastin for at least a decade.
All three were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, which injured four other people, including two other members of the Vasquez family — Pablo J. Rodriguez, 44, and D’Andre Vasquez-Rodriguez, 14.
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The family was riding in a 2003 Dodge Ram pickup that rolled and was struck by a 2005 Chevy Suburban.
Rodriguez and Vasquez-Rodriguez, a freshman at Cascade High School in Leavenworth, were recovering Wednesday at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane.
The driver of the Suburban, Lucy F. Heinkel, 39, and her 6-month-old daughter were taken to Trios Health in Kennewick following the crash. Hospital staff told the Herald that Heinkel is in good condition and that the girl was treated and released.
The Washington State Patrol investigated the crash and was on scene for more than five hours reconstructing the accident. The interstate was closed for several hours.
Vasquez-Perez was driving the pickup carrying the four passengers east on the interstate when he drifted off the road, state police said. He apparently overcorrected, rolling the vehicle across the eastbound lanes and over a median into the westbound lanes.
A preliminary investigation suggests either fatigue or inattention caused Vasquez-Perez to go off the road, state police said. Alcohol or drugs were not involved.
The pickup came to a rest on its roof in the westbound lanes, in front of the Suburban, which was traveling up to the 70 mph speed limit, state police said.
“It was a pretty significant impact,” said Chief Lonnie Click of Benton Fire District 1. “It’s been a while since we had that severe of an accident in the area.”
The pickup was packed with items, causing debris to be strewn across the interstate, said state police Sgt. Brian Mihelich.
Troopers will trace Vasquez-Perez’s steps back 24 hours to try and determine what led up to the crash, Mihelich said.
It’s not known where the Vasquez family was headed, officials said. A school district official told the Herald they have been headed to Mexico to spend time with relatives.
“There’s not even words to describe it,” Mihelich said. “A family has three less family members.”