Both directions of Interstate 5 near Anderson Road in Mount Vernon are blocked due to a multiple-vehicle crash.
Northbound drivers can exit I-5 in Arlington at State Route 531 or State Route 532 and go east to get on northbound State Route 9. Southbound drivers are slowly getting by on the right shoulder or they can take State Route 538 and head east to southbound SR 9.
Twenty-three cars were involved in the collision, according to Trooper Mark Francis. Injuries ranged from minor to critical, with at least one person with critical injuries being transported to Harborview. It is not clear how many people are injured.
Trooper Francis said the driver of the semi, who suffered a broken arm and chest injuries, may have had a medical condition that caused the crash.
By midday, the backup had stretched miles in both directions. WSDOT said there was an 8 mile backup northbound and 6 mile backup southbound around 11:15 a.m.
Francis said a loaded semi truck driving southbound crossed the median and drove into cars that were stopped on the other side.
Northbound traffic was stopped due to the investigation of an earlier shooting.
Initially six people were taken to Skagit Valley Hospital in Mount Vernon, then one person was airlifted to Harborview, according to a hospital spokesperson.
“It happened about four cars ahead of us, no more than 20 or 30 yards,” said Bobby Grace.
Grace said the double semi was carrying of load of rocks and dirt when it flipped.
“All these cars are pretty messed up. Rocks were everywhere. Our windshield’s cracked. Almost every windshield is cracked around here,” he said.
WSDOT urges travelers to exit at Conway/State Route 534, or to take alternate routes.
The accident happened around 8:45 a.m. Saturday near exit 224. Southbound traffic is not affected by the crash.
Trooper Francis said that the investigation would take time, but they are trying to work as fast as possible to reopen the freeway.
Washington State Patrol’s Major Accident Investigation Team is taking the lead at the scene.