PORT ANGELES — The investigation into the head-on collision that shut down a portion of U.S Highway 101 in west Port Angeles on Tuesday continues, although the State Patrol still intends to charge the driver with reckless driving, said spokeswoman Katherine Weatherwax by telephone on Friday.
Kenneth Allen Tobin, 32, Port Angeles was arrested and booked into the Clallam County Jail at 6:09 p.m. Tuesday. He was released at 7:17 p.m. He has not entered the court system yet.
According to the incident memo, Tobin’s pickup truck was eastbound on U.S. Highway 101 at milepost 246 at about 3:45 p.m. Tuesday while a pickup truck driven by Matthew S. Ennen, 33, of Port Angeles was westbound.
Tobin told State Patrol troopers that his pickup experienced an equipment malfunction and crossed the centerline, striking Ennen’s pickup head-on. Both vehicles came to rest in the westbound lane.
Westbound traffic was diverted to the Pine Street Extension while eastbound traffic was detoured to the Tumwater Truck Route, according to Port Angeles police.
The initial State Patrol report was that the driver was under investigation for driving under intoxication (DUI). Weatherwax on Friday that given the driver’s behavior, which included passing a state trooper, the initial assessment was DUI. However, a breath test administered later showed he wasn’t anywhere near over the legal limit, she said.
The State Patrol continued to investigate as of Friday.
“It’s complicated,” Weatherwax said. “We had to call in (an accident investigator tech) and a detective.”
According to Weatherwax’s description following the incident, a trooper noticed a westbound driver driving aggressively, including passing in the turn lane.
The driver passed the trooper, who activated his lights and siren as he tried to catch up. About 10 seconds later, the driver collided head-on with another vehicle near Old Joe Road.
Reporter Brian Gawley can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.