Clallam County Sheriff’s Office cruiser destroyed in Port Angeles crash
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A damaged Clallam County Sheriff’s Office patrol car sits at the Clallam County Shop Yard in Port Angeles on Wednesday after it was involved in a wreck. — Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News

By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — A Clallam County Sheriff’s Office patrol car was destroyed early Wednesday after a motorist collided with it while both drivers were traveling west on Front Street.

Deputy Mike Backes was treated for a sore wrist at Olympic Medical Center and released after the collision near McDonald’s restaurant — where Front and First streets split U.S. Highway 101 in opposite directions — between 4:30 a.m. and 5 a.m., according to Undersheriff Ron Peregrin.

Rachel Aquino, 25, of Tacoma was cited for making an improper turn, an infraction.

Aquino was not injured.

Her 2013 Dodge Charger, which was slightly damaged on the driver’s side, was towed from the scene.

Peregrin said Backes was on his way to a domestic violence call but did not have his siren or emergency lights on.

A woman later was booked on a minor assault charge after Peregrin and another deputy responded to the call.

The Port Angeles Police Department is investigating the collision, during which Backes plowed into a $2,500 light pole, shearing it and destroying a $7,500 wireless access device.

Peregrin did not know the value of Backes’ patrol car, a Ford Crown Victoria.

Aquino was in the right lane of the one-way Front Street while Backes was in the left lane when Aquino turned south onto South Penn Street to go to the McDonald’s.

That’s when her car collided with Backes’ patrol car, Officer Dallas Maynard said.

That caused Backes’ car to crash into the light pole, which he almost missed, Maynard said.

It appeared that Aquino did not see Backes’ vehicle.

“Possibly [Backes] was in that person’s blind spot,” Deputy Police Chief Brian Smith said.

Estimates of the speed of the vehicles were not available Wednesday.

Smith said the Dodge Charger pushed Backes’ vehicle into the pole.

“For whatever reason, the driver didn’t realize the [deputy’s] vehicle was in the lane,” Smith said.

“There’s a fair amount of property damage associated with the accident.”

It is the second time in two months that a law enforcement Crown Victoria has been destroyed in a collision in Clallam County.

Trooper Travis Beebe of the State Patrol’s Port Angeles detachment destroyed his patrol car in a three-vehicle collision Nov. 29 on the Morse Creek “S” curve about 3 miles west of the Wednesday morning collision.

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

Last modified: January 29. 2014 6:37PM
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