'This is not an oops!' Deadly crashes involving DUI drivers continue to climb in Washington

SEATTLE - A 25-year-old man’s life was cut short early Sunday morning when a wrong-way drunk driver crashed into him on Interstate-90 eastbound just after 3 a.m.

It’s the kind of scene that makes drivers cringe. A mangled SUV sitting on top of the barricade the car it hit totaled -- just feet away.

Troopers say the suspect entered I-90 going the wrong way and slammed head-on into a 1998 tan Honda Accord that belonged to 25-year-old Mohamed Alhethail from Issaquah. Alhethail died at the scene. Troopers say Alhethail was not wearing a seatbelt.

“There’s one exit nearby that would be plausible he got on from and that would be Rainier Ave, but we can’t confirm that,” said Washington State Patrol Trooper Chase Van Cleave.

Troopers arrested the suspect on charges of vehicular homicide. They say alcohol is a factor in the crash.

“I don’t know what’s going through their head at the time that makes them think they can drive behind the wheel,” said Van Cleave.

Van Cleave said DUI crashes continue to climb in Washington.

“Last week alone in our area four people were killed by DUI collisions and they were all victims in this case, and every time I see it, every time I respond and every time we see it the first thing that goes through my head is that this was preventable,” said Van Cleave.

Last Thursday in Pierce County, a 23-year-old, also under the influence tried to pass a semi-truck at 2:30 a.m. when he lost control and crashed into another car with three people inside who all died.

“Impaired driving still continues to be the number one cause of fatalities, if you see something while you’re driving, a car that’s swerving or someone who could be impaired call 911,” said Sergeant Jason Greer.

The Washington Traffic Safety Commission (WTSC) said between midnight and 6 a.m. are the deadliest hours on the road.

Last year 556 people died in DUI crashes on state roads, according to Mark Medelen with the WTSC.

“This is not an oops,” said Medelen. He added that DUI crashes shouldn’t be called accidents because there is nothing accidental about them.

“A choice was made, lots of choices were made that didn’t have to be,” said Van Cleave.

Medelen with WTSC suggests if you’re driving during those late night hours give yourself plenty of space and stay away from other drivers, if possible because you never know who may be drunk behind the wheel.