ENUMCLAW, Wash. -- The driver of the pickup involved in a deadly crash this week in Enumclaw is now recovering at home, deeply saddened by what happened. Will Gatlin says he did everything he could to avoid the head-on crash with the suspected DUI driver who crossed over into his lane.
It happened around 1:00 a.m. Tuesday on a curve of State Route 164. A small car carrying four people was coming westbound. Gatlin was coming eastbound when he says the small car lost control and hit him head-on.
"As soon as I hit I remember seeing a really loud flash and huge explosion sound and I just remember rolling," he said. "It was a horrific scene."
Gatlin says he was trapped in his pickup truck that was on its side, but at least he was alive.
He said he could hear a woman screaming. "And I'm pretty sure I heard her say something like, 'She's dead, she's dead,' and just repeatedly.'
The State Patrol says two passengers in the back seat of the small car were ejected and killed. The 22-year-old driver and her 18-year-old passenger were seriously hurt. They say no one was wearing seat belts.
They say the driver was impaired and might have been traveling as fast as 90 miles an hour. Gatlin says he was coming the other way at the speed limit of 50 mph.
"At that speed I did everything I could to try to stop and sadly two people are gone," Gatlin said.
Gatlin said he had recently taken up driving for Lyft and Uber and had just dropped off a rider. He says he got into this to help keep drunks off the road. He says its tragic to be hit by a suspected DUI.
"It's just incredibly sad," he said.
He has cuts on his hand from it going through the windshield and a shoulder injury from the seat belt.
Otherwise, he says he's okay. "Yes, I'm here," he said. "Some of the words the first responders said is, 'Man you're lucky to be alive.' I truly am."
He points to his pickup as the reason. He says the sturdy body, being up high and the fact the truck itself called 911 were the keys.
"I actually sent a message to Ford yesterday. That truck saved my life for sure," he said.
The passenger is in serious condition after being airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. The driver is in satisfactory condition. When the driver is released the State Patrol says she'll likely be booked in jail on vehicular homicide and vehicular assault.
Friends of Gatlin have setup a fund raising site to help with his recovery.