Serving Franklin County, WA

Prominent Eastern Washington businessman dies in crash

Gale Easterday farmed in Adams, Franklin and Benton counties

PASCO — A prominent Eastern Washington businessman and lifelong farmer was killed in a head-on crash Thursday afternoon, Dec. 10, on Interstate 182.

Gale A. Easterday, 79, of Mesa, was deceased at the scene near the Fourth Avenue interchange about 3:30 p.m., the Washington State Patrol said.

Five other victims escaped injury, including Benjamin T. Garfias, 51, of Kennewick; Alejandro Magana, 44, of Pasco; Andrii Konko,46, of Pasco; Volodymyr Konko, 34, of Pasco; and Aarn E. Brown, 38, of Pasco, the patrol said.

Easterday was the patriarch of Easterday Farms, having ranched and farmed in Franklin, Benton and Adams counties for more than 40 years raising potatoes, wheat, onions and other crops.

He leaves behind a wife, Karen, and five grown children.

The crash occurred after Easterday turned from Fourth Avenue onto the eastbound off-ramp, headed the wrong direction onto the westbound lanes, the patrol said, noting he was driving a 2016 Ram 1500 pickup.

His pickup struck a 2021 Mack truck and 2011 potato trailer driven by Garfias, the patrol said. The driver swerved and his truck struck a 2006 Dodge Dakota driven by Magana.

Debris from the crash struck the 2009 BMW 328 and 2007 Toyota Camry, driven by Andrii Konko and Brown, respectively, the patrol said.

The Ram pickup and Mac truck and trailer were towed from the scene by Casaday Beeline, the patrol said. The Dakota was towed away by Damar Towing.

The BMW and Toyota were driven from the scene, the patrol said.

All drivers were wearing seatbelts, and neither drugs nor alcohol were factors, the patrol said.

Author Bio

Roger Harnack, Publisher

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Roger Harnack is the co-owner/publisher of Free Press Publishing. Having grown up Benton City, Roger is an award-winning journalist, photographer, editor and publisher. He's one of only two editorial/commentary writers from Washington state to ever receive the international Golden Quill. Roger is dedicated to the preservation of local media, and the voice it retains for Eastern Washington.


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