NEAR RIDGEFIELD, Wash. – A 6-year-old boy was killed Friday after a wrong-way driver crashed into a car carrying a woman and two children on Interstate 5 north of Vancouver, according to the Washington State Patrol.
A white Toyota heading south in the wrong lane crashed into a gray Nissan heading north.
The crashed happened just before 2 p.m. near the SR 502 Exit west of Battle Ground, WSP Trooper Will Finn said. Moments before, WSP had received reports of a wrong-way driver headed south on the interstate.
The boy's 10-year-old cousin was taken to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver and then flown to Oregon Health and Science University in Portland. The woman, Ericka Gorremans, 32, was taken to PeaceHealth.
On Friday evening, WSP said the boy, 10, was airlifted to OHSU because of stomach injuries caused by his seat belt. The injuries were not life threatening.
Witnesses said they heard the sound of the crash from a quarter-mile away.
"I couldn't believe what I was seeing," said David Lee, who watched the white car drive the wrong way on the interstate. "Cars were swerving out of the way."
Two people were trapped and had to be freed, and CPR had to be performed on one of the children, Finn said.
He said the driver who was driving the wrong way was the only person in the car.
According to WSP, that driver, 84-year-old Gage W. Musgrave was taken to PeaceHealh to be treated for his injuries. The extent of the injuries is unknown.
Musgrave was alert and talking to troopers after the accident, according to Finn, who says troopers believe he somehow drove the wrong way after entering the interstate from a rest stop or off-ramp on exit 11.
WSP believes he drove the wrong way for two minutes or less.
The crash happened about a half-mile from exit 11.
The driver probably did not enter the freeway in Ridgefield because that access ramp is several miles from the crash scene, says Finn, which would have resulted in significantly more emergency calls from other drivers.
WSP says it is unknown if drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash.
Musgrave was driving a white 2005 Toyota four-door Avalon. Gorremans was driving a gray 2008 Nissan four-door Altima.
A third vehicle, a 2013 Ford F-150 was damaged, as well. The driver of that vehicle was not injured.
The left and center lanes of northbound I-5 were blocked but has since been cleared.
Correction: The Washington State Patrol originally believed the woman was mother to both children. She was, in fact, mother of the 10-year-old, and aunt to the 6-year-old.