Snowy weather takes its toll of its own on local highways

Valley Towing takes away the SUV that caught fire on Highway 167 before the Willis Street exit Tuesday morning.

Valley Towing takes away the SUV that caught fire on Highway 167 before the Willis Street exit Tuesday morning.

With snow and ice piling up on city and state roadways for more than a week now, drivers have had to be on guard while on the roadways.

While Kent residents survived the storm mostly unharmed, there were two major incidents during the week that only made traveling through the city that much more difficult.

On Monday, a 53-year-old Federal Way man was struck by a car on Interstate 5 as he pulled over to remove the snow chains from his tires.

According to the State Patrol, the man pulled into Lane 1 near the southbound exit to State Route 516 and was hit by a passing vehicle. According to Washington State Police Spokesperson Cliff Pratt, Lane 1 had been partially cleared at the time and was not busy because of snow covering nearly half the lane.

The man pulled into Lane 1 so that his passenger-side tires were in snow while his driver-side tires were on pavement. As he got out of his car to remove the chains, a pick up truck pulled by, spraying slush and snow into the air and causing the vehicle behind to drift slightly.

As the driver corrected to get back into his lane, he struck the Federal Way man in the legs. Both lanes of traffic were closed while emergency responders stabilized the driver and took him to a local hospital.

“It could have been much, much worse,” Pratt said.

State Patrol will be citing the man for standing in the roadway, as well as unlawfully stopping his car. They also remind drivers to remove chains before entering highways with bar pavement.

On Tuesday, a car fire on State Route 167 closed two lanes of northbound traffic at Willis Street for nearly an hour.

According to Pratt, call first came in reporting the fire at 11:01 a.m. Monday and the Jeep Cherokee was fully engulfed when police arrived. There were no injuries.

Pratt said the cause of the fire is unknown, but it is assumed to be due in part to “engines working hard in the snow.”

According to the National Weather Service, the snow is expected to continue through Thursday before changing to rain over over the weekend.

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