Mason’s Olson Resort co-owner to be arraigned on vehicular assault charges from 2018

Case delayed 2 years due to state crime lab

SEKIU — A co-owner of historic Mason’s Olson Resort will be arraigned Friday for the alcohol-related vehicular assault resulting from a 2018 crash that seriously injured his 12-year-old daughter.

Brandon J. Mason, 41, of American Falls, Idaho, and his daughter were not wearing seat belts when Mason’s 2017 F-150 Ford pickup careened at 2 a.m. July 23, 2018, off state Highway 112, according to the 10-page State Patrol investigative report.

Mason was driving westbound at 100 mph in a 50 mph zone seconds before he tried to exit Highway 112 with a right-hand turn onto Front Street, but he continued straight and went down an embankment, according to the report, written by Detective Jason Roe.

Mason was driving to the 84-year-old fishing resort at 444 Front St., Roe said. His vehicle landed on Front Street and traveled 400 feet on the town’s main thoroughfare before it stopped.

Front and side airbags deployed, Roe said.

“Both seat belts were fully retracted and loose, indicating that they had not been worn during the collision event,” he said.

“I noticed a spiderweb-shaped crack in the front windshield consistent with Brandon’s face striking it during the collision.”

Mason was charged April 17 with vehicular assault with a special allegation of being under the influence of intoxicants while a child younger than 16 was a passenger. The maximum penalty is 10 years imprisonment and a $20,000 fine.

Mason had his preliminary appearance Friday in Clallam County Superior Court and was released on his own recognizance.

Port Angeles lawyer Karen Unger, representing Mason, said Monday she expects Mason will plead not guilty at his arraignment at 1:30 p.m. Friday.

Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Sarah Woolman said Friday the case was delayed while awaiting State Patrol Lab toxicology results of Mason’s blood, which was drawn while he was being treated at Forks Community Hospital following the accident more than two years ago.

Mason’s blood-alcohol level was 0.134, the State Patrol said. The legal limit is 0.08.

Mason suffered head and face injuries, a broken sternum, left rib fractures and a concussion, Roe said.

He was “incoherent” at the hospital, according to the report.

Mason’s daughter was transported to Forks Community Hospital, then to Olympic Medical Center in Port Angeles, then to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

The girl, who suffered “substantial bodily harm,” according to the report, survived the crash, Woolman said.

The child was screaming in pain at the accident scene and the Forks hospital, Roe said.

She had a punctured lung, amnesia, and skull, rib and clavicle fractures.

Undersheriff Ron Cameron was the first emergency responder at the crash scene.

The girl “told Undersheriff Cameron that she didn’t know what had happened, but that her neck and back hurt really bad,” Roe said.

Mason told Cameron he did not know what had happened, Roe said.

Mason first said his older daughter, who was in Idaho, was driving.

He then said another man was driving. Then the man said he was at a party, and his presence at the gathering was corroborated by others who were present, according to the report.

Mason’s insurance agent said Mason initially admitted to driving the vehicle.

The agent said Mason changed his explanation after Mason “learned that if someone else was the driver, and that this was a hit-and-run collision, Brandon would be entitled to a $500,000 payout,” according to Roe’s report.

The F-150’s crash data recorder showed Mason was traveling 100 mph five seconds before the crash, and his speed reduced to 56 mph at the moment of the collision with the hillside.

The initial 9-1-1 caller was parked near the intersection and playing a game on his cellphone when he heard a vehicle accelerating on a hill on Highway 112 toward Front Street, according to the report.

“He heard a loud bang, then another bang, and he looked up to see a vehicle’s tail lights go over the hillside down towards Front Street,” Roe said.

Following the crash, a state trooper and fire and medical personnel smelled alcohol on Mason’s breath, Roe said.

He also told Forks Police Sgt. Don Ponton that he had been drinking and could not complete a field sobriety test, Roe said.

The State Patrol had recommended an additional charge of reckless endangerment against Mason.

Olson’s resort was purchased by Mason Family Properties LLC in 2014 for $2.1 million, according to the Clallam County Assessor’s Office.

The family, based in Murtaugh, Idaho, operates an RV campground and ranch outside Twin Falls.


Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].

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