Fatal Wrong-Way Crash in Benton County Kills 2
Fatal Benton County Car Accident

November 12, 2023 – 76-year-old driver, David Clark, unknowingly travels in the wrong direction on I-82 Eastbound, resulting in a devastating head-on collision with Taj Sohi’s Audi RS3. Both drivers tragically lose their lives.

The crash also involves Dalton Gifford’s pickup truck and Jesus Soto Lara’s SUV, leaving all vehicles totaled. Gifford flees the scene but later turns himself in, revealing signs of alcohol consumption. He faces charges of Driving Under the Influence.

Key Takeaways

  • The crash involved four vehicles and occurred on November 12, 2023, in Benton County.
  • A wrong-way driver operating a Chevy truck collided head-on with an Audi RS3.
  • The Washington State Patrol is leading the investigation, analyzing surveillance footage, interviewing witnesses, and examining crash debris and vehicles for clues.

Wrong-Way Crash Details

In this wrong-way crash, there were a total of four vehicles involved in the collision. The incident took place on Interstate 82 between Benton City and the Tri-Cities around 2:30 a.m.

The wrong-way driver, a 76-year-old man was operating a Chevy truck westbound in the eastbound lanes of I-82. This led to a head-on collision with a , a 20-year-old individual, an Audi RS3 . Unfortunately, both drivers were pronounced dead at the scene.

The crash also involved a Dodge Ram pickup and a GMC SUV. The Audi initially collided with the Chevy truck and was subsequently struck by the two other vehicles.

The Washington State Patrol is currently leading the investigation into the crash, focusing on determining if drugs or alcohol were involved. Efforts are underway to gather evidence and interview witnesses to ascertain the exact cause of this tragic incident in Benton County.

Drivers Involved in the Collision

The wrong-way driver, David K. Clark, was a 76-year-old man from Prosser. He was traveling in the wrong direction on I-82 Eastbound when he collided head-on with Taj S. Sohi’s Audi RS3. Both drivers were pronounced dead at the scene.

Another driver involved in the crash was Dalton J. Gifford, a 24-year-old man from West Richland. He was driving a pickup truck and fled the scene initially. However, he later turned himself in and was found to have alcohol odor on him. Gifford was arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence.

Additionally, Jesus Soto Lara, a 34-year-old man from Walla Walla, was driving an SUV. The passenger in his vehicle was identified as Laura Rodriguez Perez, a 37-year-old woman from College Place.

Toxicology reports are awaited to determine if Clark was also under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the collision. The investigation into the crash is ongoing to gather more details and determine the exact cause of this tragic incident.

Investigation Into the Cause of the Crash

The investigation into the cause of the fatal wrong-way crash in Benton County on November 12, 2023, is currently underway as authorities work to determine what led to the tragic collision.

The Washington State Patrol is leading the investigation and coordinating with other law enforcement agencies to gather all the necessary evidence. One of the key aspects being examined is how the 76-year-old wrong-way driver, David Clark, managed to enter the divided highway. Investigators are analyzing surveillance footage, interviewing witnesses, and reconstructing the accident scene to piece together a comprehensive timeline of events.

Additionally, toxicology reports are awaited to determine if Clark was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash. The involvement of Dalton Gifford, who fled the scene but was later arrested for DUI, has also raised questions about the potential influence of alcohol in the fatal crash.

As part of the investigation, authorities are analyzing the crash debris, examining the vehicles involved, and conducting thorough interviews with all parties involved. The hope is to uncover the exact cause of this devastating wrong-way collision and prevent similar incidents in the future.

As the investigation progresses, further information will be released to the public.

Implications for Road Safety in Benton County

This fatal wrong-way crash brings to light the urgent need to crack down on reckless driving and enhance road safety measures. This deadly crash, which occurred near the eastbound lanes of I-82, involved multiple vehicles and resulted in two fatalities and two injuries. The involvement of drugs or alcohol in the crash underscores the need for continued efforts to address impaired driving and enforce traffic laws.

To emphasize the importance of road safety in Benton County, the following table highlights some key factors contributing to the crash and the corresponding implications:

Causes of the CrashImplications for Road Safety
Wrong-way drivingEnhance signage and implement measures to prevent wrong-way entry onto highways
Impaired drivingIncrease DUI enforcement and promote awareness of the dangers of driving under the influence
Reckless drivingStrengthen traffic law enforcement and implement stricter penalties for reckless behavior

These measures are crucial in preventing similar incidents and ensuring the safety of all road users. Additionally, the incident serves as a reminder for drivers to stay vigilant, follow traffic laws, and report any suspicious or dangerous driving behavior. It also highlights the ongoing investigation and coordination among law enforcement agencies to improve road safety in Benton County. By addressing these implications and taking proactive steps, we can work towards creating safer roads for everyone.

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