4 crashes snarl traffic during morning commute on Highway 240 in Richland

A four-car collision snarled traffic to Hanford, triggered three other crashes and sent a man to the hospital Tuesday morning.

Thomas C. Knutzen, 56, of Kennewick, was not paying attention as he headed west on the bypass highway in his 2004 Mercedes shortly before 5:30 a.m. in Richland, and when traffic slowed down in front of him, he crashed into a Nissan Altima in front of him, the Washington State Patrol said.

The wreck sent off a chain reaction by pushing the Altima into a Chevy Impala in front it and then forcing the Impala into a Dodge pickup truck, the Washington State Patrol said.

The Altima’s driver, Antonio Rodriguez, 56, of Kennewick, was taken to Kadlec Regional Medical Center for treatment and evaluation. None of the other drivers were injured.

Three more accidents occurred as traffic backed up on the highway. No one was hurt, but it did take about an hour to clear the wrecks and get traffic flowing normally. 

Cameron Probert covers breaking news and education for the Tri-City Herald, where he tries to answer readers’ questions about why police officers and firefighters are in your neighborhood. He studied communications at Washington State University.