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FEATURE NEWS

HIGHWAY 2: SECOND BAD
ACCIDENT IN AS MANY DAYS

July 11, 2009




U.S. Highway 2 through the Sky Valley: a magnet for bad accidents.
(BARING, WA) -- Just one day after a fatal head on collision in the Sky Valley on U.S. Highway 2 just west of the Evergreen State Fairgrounds, there was another bad accident on the infamous “highway of death,” this time near Baring farther east along the roadway.

On Friday there was a t-bone pattern collision of two vehicles on Highway 2 about 11 miles east of Gold Bar. It was an accident that injured four people, three of who were sent to a hospital with injuries.

The State Patrol says it appears at this point that Friday’s accident, which occurred just after 10:00 a.m., was caused by the driver of a compact car that, while traveling west on the highway, made a sudden left hand turn into the parking lot of the Baring Store when it was slammed into broadside by a large pickup truck that was traveling eastbound.

That accident happened just a day after a fiery, grinding collision on Highway 2 just west of the Evergreen State Fairgrounds claimed one man’s life and injured two others.

A Snohomish County Sheriff’s Deputy and a prisoner he was transporting were injured early Thursday morning in that accident. It happened in the darkness about 4:00 a.m. between the patrol car and a pick up truck. The highway was closed for hours as investigators tried to determine what happened.

The State Patrol say a small pick-up truck, for reasons as yet unknown, is believed to have crossed the center line of Highway 2 and crashed head-on with a Snohomish County sheriff's patrol car at the intersection of U.S. Highway 2 and Roosevelt Road.

Flames destroyed the pick-up truck and the driver died at the scene with his body burned beyond recognition. The truck was registered to a man who lived in Monroe. The man’s identity has not been released.

The patrol car ended up in a ditch alongside the highway and firefighters had to cut the roof off of the patrol car off to remove the deputy and the prisoner as they did for the man in the pickup.

Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Rebecca Hover said the 35-year old deputy, since identified as James Headrick, was taken by helicopter to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle where it was later determined he had luckily sustained only minor injuries but would be kept overnight for observation.

The prisoner who was in the back seat, a 22-year old man who’d been arrested for investigation of 4th degree domestic assault, was taken to an Everett hospital where it was determined he had suffered minor injuries. Later he was taken to jail.

The investigation into what caused the accident continues.

The most recent fatality on Highway 2 prior to the Thursday morning collision between the patrol car and a pick up truck was May 30th when a 22-year old Wenatchee man died east of Gold Bar when his vehicle left the road and rammed into a tree.

As part of many planned safety improvements along Highway 2, a couple of 8-foot wide electronic signs have gone up along the highway that show drivers in a real-time display how many days it has been since the last major collision on Highway 2.

When a new collision occurs that kills or permanently disables someone, the Washington State Patrol resets the electronic display to zero.

It is thought that a bright, visual display drivers can easily see that shows how dangerous the highway is – by using actual “real time” crash counts - drivers will become more engaged, more alert and more focused when behind the wheel on the 60-plus miles of roadway between Everett and Stevens Pass.

The signs, costing about $1,000 each not including installation and maintenance, are paid for by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission and were suggested by the U.S. Highway 2 Traffic Safety Coalition.

The safety coalition has tallied some 84 fatal accidents since 1993 along the stretch of Highway 2 from the U.S. 2 Trestle to Stevens Pass.





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