Yakima County Sheriff's deputies reported to where Yakima Valley Highway intersects with Dekker Road after receiving word of a head-on collision. Upon arrival, deputies found two pickup trucks. One passenger was dead on arrival.
The deputies then removed three people from one truck and one person from the other. One passenger died during this process. The survivors were immediately transported to nearby hospitals.
Many calls reported the crash, including one that claimed one of the vehicles had caught on fire and a citizen put it our with a fire extinguisher.
The incident is being investigated by the Yakima County Sheriff's traffic unit.
Please avoid the area of Yakima Valley Hwy and Dekker Rd. We are investigating a double fatal head on collision. The roadway is closed. We will send out an update when we have more information. Thank you . Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the deceased. pic.twitter.com/bZU8KB9dDn— Yakima County Sheriff's Office (@YakimaSheriff) January 14, 2022
UPDATE JAN. 18, 2022. 3:00 p.m.
A media release from the Yakima County Sheriff's Department has confirmed the witness report that a nearby civilian put out the truck that had caught on fire.
After investigation, it was discovered that one of the trucks was driven by Usbaldo Santillan, a 32 year-old from Toppenish heading west. West of the Yakima Valley Highway and Dekker Road intersection, Santillan crossed the roadway over into the eastbound lane. He then hit another truck driven by Leonard Wallingford, a 72 year-old from Sunnyside. Wallingford was accompanied by his wife, Yolanda Martinez, also 72, and Carlos Soliman, 64, both from Sunnyside. Impact occurred on the eastbound fog line.
Wallingford and Martinez did not make it to hospital and were declared dead at the scene. Soliman was transported to the hospital, where he passed away around nine hours after the crash.
Santillan had minor injuries.
Investigation concluded that everyone involved had been wearing a seatbelt and that intoxicants do not seem to be a factor. The foggy conditions Friday were also dismissed as a factor, due to visibility reaching over two blocks at the time.
The investigation is still ongoing.
This is a developing story, which means information could change. We are working to report timely and accurate information as we get it.