The Port Angeles man driving this van was killed in a three-vehicle wreck on state Highway 3 near Poulsbo on Tuesday morning. (Trooper Russ Winger/State Patrol)

The Port Angeles man driving this van was killed in a three-vehicle wreck on state Highway 3 near Poulsbo on Tuesday morning. (Trooper Russ Winger/State Patrol)

Port Angeles man killed in wreck on Highway 3 near Poulsbo

Three-car collision kills 65-year-old and brings traffic to a standstill.

POULSBO — A 65-year-old Port Angeles man was killed Tuesday morning in a three-vehicle collision on state Highway 3 near Poulsbo.

The highway was completely shut down for nearly four hours due to the wreck, which involved a semi truck, panel van and a small passenger car.

Update – The fatality involved a male driving a white panel van and he was pronounced deceased on scene. The male driver of the large work truck was treated for minor injuries, and released on scene. A third male, who was driving a small passenger car also involved in the collision, was treated for minor injuries and released on scene. The Washington State Patrol remains to conduct their investigation.Earlier post – Highway 3 is completely shut down, just south of the Big Valley Road interchange, for a multiple car versus truck fatal collision. More information to follow.

Posted by Kitsap FD 18 Poulsbo Fire Department on Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The crash occurred near the Big Valley Road interchange, just south of Lofall Road.

The Port Angeles man, whose identity has not yet been released, was the driver of the panel van and was pronounced dead at the scene.

The other drivers involved did not appear to have any serious injuries.

State Patrol Trooper Russ Winger said he received reports of the wreck around 7 a.m.

An early investigation, Winger said, seemed to show that the van was traveling northbound when it crossed the center line before striking the southbound semi truck just behind the cab.

“After the van struck the semi, it veered back toward the right, and the passenger car that was trailing that white van couldn’t stop and struck the rear of the white van,” Winger said.

At 10:58 a.m. Winger reported that the scene had been cleared and reopened to traffic.

Recent wrecks

This is the second traffic-halting collision to occur on that stretch of highway in four days.

A crash occurred last Friday near Pioneer Way and Tytler Road, and blocked both lanes of traffic.

The Tuesday morning crash isn’t even the first fatal head-on collision to happen in the past six months.

On Sept. 27, 2017, a motorcyclist traveling north toward the Hood Canal Bridge was struck and killed by a vehicle after it crossed the center line near Big Valley Road and Highway 3.

It was later determined that the driver of the vehicle had been under the influence when the collision occurred.

“Anytime you have two-lane opposing, high-speed traffic, it’s not safe in my opinion,” Winger said. “With the high volume up there and with the traffic stopping and going, things happen. It’s somewhere we go quite often.”

Widen the road?

According to Winger, the state Department of Transportation needs to widen the road along Highway 3 and separate the lanes of travel.

“Eventually they’re going to have to widen that [road] and make it separated, at least two lanes and possibly some sort of barrier. … Eventually that’s going to have to happen there, but who knows when that will be?”

Winger suggested that drivers traveling on Highway 3 maintain a safe distance from vehicles ahead and obey posted speed limits.

Driver distractions, Winger added, also play a big role in causing otherwise preventable collisions.

“We’ve found that distractions cause a lot of the problems that we have today. People are looking down, or doing other things that take their eyes off the road and rear-end people that are in front of them, stopped in traffic, or cross the center line.”

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Nick Twietmeyer is a reporter with Kitsap News Group. He can be reached at [email protected]

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