Austin C. Tsai, Bugeon Kim Obituary, Death – All three drivers who were killed in a wrong-way crash on eastbound Interstate 90 Monday morning were identified by King County officials. The driver of the wrong-way vehicle, which was a 2012 Chrysler 300, was Ari N. Quiroz-Jimenez, 30, from Seattle. The driver of the other involved vehicle, which was a 2018 Subaru WRX, was identified as 22-year-old Austin C. Tsai from Bellevue. The passenger in Tsai’s vehicle was identified as 23-year-old Bugeon Kim from Berkeley, California, according to Washington State Patrol (WSP).
KOMO News on Wednesday received a video of a WSP trooper encountering the wrong-way vehicle and arriving at the scene, which can be seen below. The Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) first reported the multi-vehicle crash near Island Crest Way on Mercer Island around 12:20 a.m. Monday. The crash initially blocked all eastbound lanes for several hours. Two eastbound lanes reopened to traffic by 4:35 a.m. before all lanes reopened to traffic around 5:30 a.m.
The WSP wrote in a press release that KOMO News received Wednesday that the wrong-way driver most likely entered the eastbound lanes traveling westbound from the 142nd St. HOV ramp in Bellevue before the incident. The WSP continued to write that upon arriving at the scene, flames were visible from one of the vehicles. The trooper doused them via fire extinguisher shortly after. Troopers then checked on the condition of the drivers of the victim vehicle (Subaru WRX), but were unable to get any vital signs.
Eastside Fire & Rescue officials arrived and attempted to treat all three people, but they all eventually died. “We know they were traveling westbound on the eastbound lanes for a little bit of time, enough for us to get a couple calls,” said WSP Trooper Johnson. The WSP also said drugs or alcohol were believed to have been involved in the crash. The wreckage and the loss of human life shocked residents of Mercer Island.
“The dangers of driving under the influence are all the harm that comes from careless actions and not being responsible for themselves,” said Ananta Gudipaty, who lives nearby. Lanes of eastbound I-90 were blocked for around five hours and 15 minutes before reopening to traffic. WSP said it’s important for drivers to know there is a potential for these crashes and stress the importance of looking as far as they can to avoid an incident like this.
“One of my childhood buddies was hit by a car coming the wrong direction, he spent weeks in the hospital in coma and we weren’t sure he was going to make it but luckily he came out and recovered fully,” Gudipaty continued.