SHELTON, Washington—Duane Wharton, 58, and Rita Lyman, 66, were both killed in a head-on crash involving a dump truck on September 7, 2022, just before 7:35 a.m. The crash also seriously injured two other passengers. The accident occurred on US Route 101 near Shelton, Washington.
Washington State Patrol reports suggest that a Mazda pickup truck was traveling southbound on US Route 101 when it crossed the center line and struck a dump truck, driven by Wharton, which was full of gravel. Wharton then lost control of the dump truck and hit a black SUV, driven by Lyman.
The accident necessitated a road closure of US Route 101 for several hours on September 7th. Both Wharton and Lyman were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. The driver of the Mazda pickup truck and a female passenger in the truck were transported to a local hospital for treatment.
Authorities suspect the driver of the Mazda pickup truck had been driving under the influence, so the driver was taken into custody and could potentially face two vehicular homicide charges.
Investigation into the cause of this crash is still ongoing. No further details about the accident have been released.
There are many potential avenues of recovery in this crash that must be investigated
Even though we do not yet know all the details of this accident, the driver of the Mazda pickup truck was clearly negligent while driving under the influence. That kind of disregard for others’ lives is simply unacceptable. In addition, if the driver was under the influence of alcohol, many states allow for dram shop claims to be brought against a bar or restaurant if the driver was overserved and left the establishment too drunk to drive.
Further investigation will be needed to determine whether the driver was, in fact, under the influence of alcohol or another illicit substance. Either way, the families of the injured and deceased victims would benefit from talking to an experienced attorney to perform an independent investigation of the crash site. For example, attorneys may be able to obtain information such as the driver’s speed at the time of the accident, history of drug or alcohol abuse, prior DUIs, and much more.
All of this information could potentially help the families in a wrongful death suit. A successful wrongful death lawsuit can help devastated loved ones recover both financially and emotionally from the loss of a spouse, family member, or dear friend. Our firm is experienced in handling wrongful death suits, dram shop claims, and other legal matters resulting from a severe car crash. We aim to provide families access to the court system to pursue justice for loved ones taken away too soon due to the negligence of others. Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this crash.