JOYCE — A 44-year-old man from Neah Bay was arrested for investigation of vehicular assault and reckless endangerment after a two-car collision on state Highway 112 sent seven people, including three children, to hospitals.
Two of the children were airlifted to Seattle for intensive treatment after the wreck at about 5:33 p.m. Tuesday.
Matthew T. Herz is scheduled for a first appearance at 3 p.m. today in Clallam County Superior Court. He was arrested for investigation of two counts of vehicular assault and three counts of reckless endangerment, according to the Clallam County jail roster. He is being held without bond.
The State Patrol said the cause of the wreck was driving left of the centerline.
All seven people in the two cars, including Herz, were taken to Olympic Medical Center (OMC) in Port Angeles.
Two children — a 10-year-old girl and a 5-year-old boy, both from Neah Bay — were then airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
Another 5-year-old, a boy, remained at OMC, the State Patrol said. He is from Port Angeles.
All three were riding with Herz in a Chevy Trailblazer.
Conditions of the children are not available because they are unidentified.
OMC treated and discharged Herz as well as one of his passengers, Tasha N. Moss, 31, of Port Angeles, said Bobby Beeman, hospital spokesperson, on Wednesday.
Another passenger in Herz’s vehicle, Jade A. William, 30, of Neah Bay, was stabilized at OMC and transferred, Beeman said. She said privacy laws prevented her from saying where William was taken.
Six people were in the Chevy Trailblazer. The driver of the other vehicle — William T. Lee, 67, of Port Angeles — was traveling alone. He was treated and discharged from OMC.
The State Patrol said Herz was traveling eastbound on Highway 112 when the motorist ahead of him slowed for a left turn near Salt Creek Bridge. Herz didn’t slow with traffic and instead entered the westbound lane to go around the vehicle, the State Patrol said.
Lee, driving a Ford Expedition, was traveling westbound near the bridge and attempted to avoid a collision with Herz’s vehicle, but could not move over far enough because of a guardrail, State Patrol said.
Lee’s vehicle hit Herz’s, the State Patrol said.
Herz’s vehicle came to rest on the centerline and Lee’s in the eastbound lane.
The highway was fully blocked for five hours as multiple agencies assisted in helping the injured.
The State Patrol originally had reported the wreck as involving three cars. A third vehicle, a Dodge Ram, managed to stop just before it became part of the collision, according to Trooper Brandon Johanson on Wednesday.
It is unknown if drugs or alcohol were involved, the State Patrol said.
Lee was wearing a seat belt. Herz and the 10-year-old were not, while it is unknown if others in Herz’s car had buckled up, according to the State Patrol.
Both vehicles were completely destroyed.
Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at [email protected].