Two hurt in separate wrecks on Highway 104

PORT TOWNSEND — Recent wrecks on state Highway 104 led to one driver being airlifted to a Seattle hospital and another transported to a Bremerton hospital.

At 1:58 p.m. Sunday, Glen O. Kepler, 64, of Minneapolis was towing a 28-foot travel trailer eastbound on state Highway 104, according to a State Patrol memo, which said that Kepler lost control and drove into a ditch when the trailer began to oscillate in the approach to Shine Quarry Road.

The trailer tipped over and came to rest on its passenger side across the eastbound lane with the vehicle still attached, which also ended up on its side, the State Patrol said.

Kepler was taken to Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton. His condition was not available.

The cause of the wreck is under investigation and charges are pending, the State Patrol said.

The road was closed for one hour and 35 minutes.

On Tuesday, a moped and a car were involved in a collision at 4:36 p.m. on eastbound Highway 104 near the intersection of state Highway 19.

According to the State Patrol, the driver of the moped, Ambir L. Pankau, 36, of Poulsbo attempted to go around a vehicle that was stopped in the turn lane attempting to enter traffic.

She sideswiped a car in the eastbound lane driven by Christopher J. Prestel, 51, of Federal Way, the State Patrol said.

Panaku, who was wearing a helmet, lost control of the moped and struck the guardrail.

She was thrown over the guardrail, coming to rest in the eastbound ditch.

The moped ended up on the shoulder of the eastbound lane.

The car came to a controlled stop in the same location, the State Patrol said, adding that the driver was not hurt.

According to State Patrol spokeswoman Trooper Chelsea Hodgson, Pankau was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with pelvis and leg injuries.

Harborview spokerperson Susan Greig said Thursday Pankau was in satisfactory condition.

The State Patrol cited her for failure to yield the right of way.

Neither drugs nor alcohol were involved in either of the wrecks, the State Patrol said.

Hodgson reminded drivers to pay attention to the road during their travels this summer.

She said that from Jan. 1, 2018 to Aug. 2, 2018, the Washington State Patrol has had 43 collisions reported on State Route 104, 28 (65 percent) of which occurred between the Hood Canal Bridge and the intersection of State Route 104 and State Route 19.

During that same time frame, 192 collisions have been reported to the Washington State Patrol in Jefferson County.

“We urge all drivers to be cautious anytime they are behind the wheel,” advised Hodgson. ” Adhering to posted speed limits, maintaining safe following distances and being aware of their surroundings is imperative.

“In the case of State Route 104, there is a posted 60 mph highway (with the exception of the 40 mph zone near the Hood Canal Bridge) with offshoots of residential driveways, blind curves, and busy intersections like State Route 104 and State Route 19 and State Route 104 and Paradise Bay/Shine Road.

“Now that it is summer, we see an increase in traffic on the Olympic Peninsula, especially on the weekends. Be sure to exercise not only caution, but patience, to avoid being involved in a collision,” she said.

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Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Jeannie McMacken can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at [email protected]

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