Four morning wrecks turn U.S. 101 into 'carmageddon'
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Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News
Westbound traffic grinds to a halt on U.S Highway 101 coming into Port Angeles on Thursday morning after the first two of four wrecks that happened within a mile of each other.

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES ญญ— Bright sunlight was blamed for four wrecks involving 15 vehicles on U.S. Highway 101 on Thursday morning.

All of the wrecks occurred within a mile of each other just east of Port Angeles.

Injuries were apparently minor in the wrecks that backed up commuter morning traffic for miles.

Three people were taken to Olympic Medical Center, and were discharged later in the day. They were Kenneth R. Bockman, 78, of Port Angeles; Angela Rood, 24, of Port Angeles; and Mary Cantwell, 62, of Maple Falls.

Exact causes of the collisions — at Monroe Street, Leighland Avenue and two near the intersection with North Baker Street — are still being determined, but in an informal consensus, emergency responders blamed glare.

“It was blinding going up that hill,” said Lt. Kevin Thompson with Clallam County Fire District No. 2. “It was very bright out.”

Both lanes of Highway 101 were cleared roughly two hours after the first collision was reported at 7:40 a.m., said Trooper Russ Winger, State Patrol spokesman.

That wreck, which involved two cars, was near the intersection of Highway 101 and Monroe Road.

Bockman was taken to Olympic Medical Center for lower back pain, according to Fire District No. 2.

An OMC representative said Bockman was not on the patient registry Thursday afternoon.

Bockman was headed east as he drove a gray 1985 Honda Civic on Highway 101 and failed to stop for a red light at the intersection with Monroe Road, the State Patrol said.

The Civic struck the passenger side of a white 2011 Toyota Highlander, driven by Port Angeles resident Mary Hebert with passenger Aubrey Hebert, which was traveling south on Monroe through the intersection with Highway 101, according to Fire District No. 2.

Neither of the Toyota occupants reported injuries, according to Fire District No. 2.

No one had been cited on Thursday; Winger said that he expects the State Patrol will cite Bockman for failure to obey a traffic-control device.

After clearing that collision, troopers moved to the scene of a wreck involving at least six vehicles, including a semi-truck, at about 7:55 a.m. at the intersection of North Baker Street and Highway 101, west of the collision at Monroe Road, Winger said.

According to the State Patrol, a semi truck driven by Mariyan Zapryanov, a British Columbia resident, was heading east on Highway 101 and hit the back of a 2008 Black Ford Edge, driven Rood, who was waiting in the delay caused by the Monroe collision.

The semi-car contact caused a chain reaction of rear-end collisions that sent the Edge into westbound traffic, where it struck a 1999 white Plymouth Neon driven by Cantwell, the State Patrol said.

Cantwell was suspected to have broken ribs, while Rood suffered a lacerated lip, Winger said.

Medic crews took Cantwell to Olympic Medical Center, while Rood was transported by private vehicle, Winger said. Neither remained at OMC later in the day, a hospital representative said.

No one was cited on Thursday; Winger said he expected the State Patrol would cite Zapryanov, the semi driver, for driving too fast for existing road conditions.

Soon after the Baker Street collision was moved to the side of the road at about 9 a.m., the State Patrol received a report of another wreck in the same area involving four vehicles, which resulted in minor injuries with no one transported to the hospital, said Lt. Thompson with Fire District 2.

State Patrol troopers also responded to a four-car collision at the intersection of Highway 101 and Leighland Avenue, Winger said.

That resulted in only minor injuries with no one transported for medical care, Winger said.



Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: October 04. 2012 6:03PM
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