Coroner: Port Angeles man killed in tractor-trailer crash on state Highway 104 died from head, neck injuries
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Russ WInger/Washington State Patrol
The driver of this tractor-trailer was killed when the truck left state Highway 104 west of the Hood Canal bridge and struck several trees.

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

PORT LUDLOW — A Port Angeles tractor-trailer truck driver was killed by blunt force trauma to the head and neck when the truck left state Highway 104 near the Hood Canal bridge and struck a tree, the Jefferson County Coroner's Office has ruled.

Scott Rosekrans, Jefferson County prosecuting attorney and coroner, said Tuesday his office made the determination about Wayne Eldon Hostetler, 61, who died Monday morning, after consulting with State Patrol investigators.

Trooper Russ Winger, State Patrol spokesman, did not return calls Tuesday requesting an update on the State Patrol investigation as what may have caused the 8:30 a.m. fatal crash.

CPR attempted

Rosekrans said Hostetler's body was at Kosec Funeral Home in Port Townsend.

Hostetler was pronounced dead at the scene after paramedics from several agencies performed CPR on him for almost an hour.

He was driving a blue 2007 Kenworth tractor-trailer, which was hauling a cargo container when it left the roadway to the right, drove through a guardrail, careened down a 20-foot embankment and struck a large tree, the State Patrol said.

Winger said Monday the truck seemed to have just drifted off the road, and there was no indication the driver attempted to stop the truck.

Drugs or alcohol was not suspected to be a factor in the wreck, he said.

Winger said an autopsy might determine if Hostetler suffered a “medical event,” or if there might be other factors in the wreck.

Rosekrans said his office likely will not perform an autopsy unless Hostetler's family requests it, given the circumstances of the wreck.

Rosekrans said a sample of Hostetler's blood has been sent for testing.

“We just do that as standard procedure, standard practice,” Rosekrans said.

Medics from Port Ludlow Fire & Rescue, East Jefferson Fire-Rescue, Quilcene Fire Rescue and Naval Magazine Station 91 responded to the wreck.

Hostetler was pronounced dead at the scene at 9:14 a.m.

The roadway was fully blocked for about 90 minutes and partially blocked for about 10 hours, according to the state Department of Transportation.
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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: July 22. 2014 6:50PM
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