Washington state to pay $28 million to woman paralyzed in I-5 crash in Pierce County

SEATTLE TIMES

October 15, 2018
By David Gutman
Twitter @davidlgutman

Skylar Seward was 15 in 2013 when the car she was riding in swerved left and went off the roadway on Interstate 5 near DuPont, Pierce County, colliding with an unprotected concrete pillar in the freeway median.

The state of Washington has agreed to pay $28 million to a woman who was paralyzed when the car she was riding in crashed into an overpass support pillar on Interstate 5 five years ago, the woman’s lawyers said Monday.

Skylar Seward was 15 in 2013 when the car she was a passenger in swerved left and went off the roadway on Interstate 5 near DuPont, Pierce County.

The concrete pillars in the median weren’t protected by a concrete barrier, a metal guard rail or a wire fence. Instead, the only thing between the travel lanes and the pillars was an “earth berm,” a mound of dirt that instead of deflecting the car away from the massive pillar, served as a sort of ramp, directing the car into the structure, according to court documents.

Seward was paralyzed from the chest down. She sued the state in 2016, alleging that the roadway was unsafe and the state was negligent for not replacing the berm with a concrete Jersey barrier or guardrail.