PORT ANGELES — A 5-year-old boy died New Year’s Day and four other people believed to be from the same Federal Way family were seriously injured when a tree fell on a white SUV travelling east around Lake Crescent on U.S. Highway 101, Clallam Fire District No. 2 Chief Sam Phillips said.
Highway 101 was blocked in both directions Sunday afternoon and into Sunday evening, with traffic being diverted to state Route 112, after the 18- 20-inch-diameter tree fell on the vehicle, which was reported to authorities at 2:16 p.m., Phillips said.
Two other children about 10 or younger and two elderly occupants believed to be the children’s grandparents also were seriously injured, Phillips said.
One grandparent was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, while the other grandparent and two other children were transported to Olympic Medical Center.
An OMC hospital spokeswoman said at 5:30 p.m. Sunday that the grandparent and two children were in serious condition.
The grandparent at Harborview was in critical condition at 5:30 p.m. Sunday and was being evaluated in the hospital’s emergency room, a spokeswoman said.
Phillips said the grandfather told authorities that they were headed home to Federal Way when the tree hit the car and the vehicle spun around.
It occurred at milepost 232 about 2 miles west of Storm King Ranger Station.
“Multiple trees were down in the area,” Phillips said.
“Once it was hit by the tree, it spun around, slid and travelled east,” Phillips said.
“The roads were icy, [the male grandparent] lost control, it spun around, spun backward.”
“We had to do extrication [with hydraulic tools] on the car to get the last person out — one of the grandparents,” Phillips said.
National Park Service rangers — that portion of Highway 101 is in Olympic National Park — were at the site where the vehicle came to rest when Fire District No. 2 personnel arrived at 2:54 p.m., Phillips said.
The boy was pronounced dead at the scene.
Phillips said the State Patrol, which is the lead agency in the investigation into the incident in support of Olympic National Park, also arrived at the scene with personnel from Clallam County Fire District No. 4, the state Department of Transportation and the Clallam County Sheriff’s Department.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.