Speed, bald tires reportedly contribute to rollover crash in Port Angeles
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A Honda Element lays on its side near a damaged Chevy Blazer on East Third Street near Jones Street, after the Element, driven by Gabriel Oueilhe, 42, of Port Angeles allegedly took the corner too fast, according to Port Angeles police. —Photo by Arwyn Rice/Peninsula Daily News

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — High speeds and bald tires resulted in a dramatic rollover wreck in a quiet neighborhood Sunday afternoon, according to police.

Gabriel Thomas Oueilhe, 42, of Port Angeles was driving a green Honda Element north on Jones Street and lost control as he turned left onto East Third Street, according to Port Angeles Police Officer Dan Morse.

Oueilhe was found a few blocks away after fleeing the scene on foot, taken into custody and booked into Clallam County jail for investigation of hit and run and driving with a suspended license, police reported.

There is no suspicion of alcohol or drug use, and no one was injured, Morse said.

Bald tires and “some speed” are probably the cause of the wreck, he said.

The accident brought neighbors out of their homes, and they gathered to take pictures and talk about the unusual event.

John Gonzales, a truck driver for Colonial Van Lines, was unloading moving boxes from his semi-truck when he heard a screech and stepped down from the back of the truck just in time to see the Element, tipped on two wheels, hit a parked Chevy Blazer, narrowly pass between a parked Nissan Cube and the moving van, and come to rest on its side in front of a house at 1125 E. Third St.

“I thought it was going to hit the boxes [stacked by the truck],” Gonzales said.

The Element was smoking like it might catch fire, so Gonzales helped the driver out of the car, and the driver ran off, he said.

Police returned Oueilhe to the scene, and Gonzales identified Oueilhe as the driver of the Element.

The Blazer, which was parked at the curb, was hit so hard that it jumped the curb, passed through two front yards and collided with a tree.

Cody Slack, 24, of Port Angeles, owner of the Blazer, said it was not insured because it wasn’t being driven and had been put up for sale recently, he said.

Neighbor Carolyn Whitney said the hit-and-miss course the car took reminded her of a tornado’s path.

“I’ve been in a tornado before. It ruined my neighbor’s house, left ours, then ruined the house on the other side,” Whitney said.

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Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: December 16. 2013 9:57AM
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