State Patrol trooper who caused wreck now in Jefferson County [Corrected]

By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News

Corrects reason for one-day suspension from 2012 wreck.
PORT ANGELES — State Trooper Travis Beebe, who two weeks ago admitted causing a nonfatal three-vehicle collision on the city's outskirts, has been sporadically working in Jefferson County for reasons unrelated to disciplinary actions meted out for the Nov. 29 incident.

Beebe, 39, lost four days of vacation pay worth between $1,200 and $1,400 for being responsible for the crash.

He has been stationed in Jefferson County because of a State Patrol manpower shortage that has stricken the agency statewide, agency spokesman Jason Hicks said Thursday.

Hicks said the State Patrol has not imposed any driving restrictions on Beebe, a 17-year State Patrol veteran who earns approximately $38.58 an hour, or $74,000 a year.

Beebe's forfeited vacation pay is termed a “soft suspension” that allows him to continue to work without interruption, Hicks said.

Beebe has successfully completed a Nov. 29 collision-related, four-hour “check ride” with an Emergency Vehicle Operator Course instructor but still must attend 40 hours of driver training that is part of trooper basic training at the State Police Training Academy, Hicks said.

Beebe will receive the driver training with the next Training Academy class and includes classroom work and driver proficiency exams.

Hicks said Beebe would not do any interviews related to the Nov. 29 collision.

“I am the one handling the press on this,” Hicks said.

“This is a statewide matter.

“There's been major press on it.

“Anything like that, we don't put a trooper on the spot to deal with reporters and whatnot.”

The State Patrol announced Beebe's admission of responsibility Dec. 12 in a prepared statement.

The announcement came 10 days after Peninsula Daily News reported that the agency had initially determined Beebe caused the collision while trying to overtake a speeding vehicle at the Morse Creek curve.

“He admitted he lost control, he admitted that yes, the collision was his fault,” Hicks said Thursday.

“He did exactly what our troopers do.

“He accepted responsibility for messing up.”

It was the second crash-related Beebe was involved in within 18 months.

The State Patrol suspended Beebe for one day without pay for destroying a patrol car in a May 8, 2012, high-speed chase up Deer Park Road.

The pursuit resulted in the death of motorcyclist Bjorn R. Larsen, 36, of Forks. The State Patrol determined Larsen was at fault.

A protest against Beebe that drew 50 to 70 people at the Clallam County Courthouse was organized earlier this month by Colleen Larsen of Forks and other family members and friends.

Beebe's patrol car, a 2011 Crown Victoria valued new at $30,500, was destroyed in the 2012 wreck.

Beebe's patrol vehicle also was destroyed in the Morse Creek wreck.

Beebe's admission of guilt in the Nov. 29 wreck ends the administrative part of the crash investigation, which determines if agency policies were violated, Hicks said.

The policies Beebe violated include not exercising “due care and caution,” Hicks said.

The State Patrol Major Accident Investigation Team still must review how the collision occurred, a process that is not expected to be completed until February or March.

Hicks said there were no serious injuries in the crash, which involved two other vehicles and nine other individuals — three in a Toyota pickup truck and six in a Honda sport utility vehicle.

The Honda driver, Tigran Gyonjyan, 34, of Sammamish, was slightly injured and, according to the State Patrol, was treated at the scene by paramedics.

Gyonjyan retained Bellevue lawyer Yan Siprin.

Siprin told Peninsula Daily News Dec. 9 that Gyonjyan and his five passengers were injured in the collision.

“My clients and I are investigating this auto accident and will take all appropriate legal actions as needed and as may be warranted by the facts developed in the course of my ongoing investigation,” Siprin said in an email for the article.

Siprin was unavailable for comment late Thursday afternoon.

________

Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at pgottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: December 31. 2013 10:34AM
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