PORT ANGELES — A Sequim motorist cited for failure to yield after she killed a motorcyclist last week said Tuesday she is remorseful about causing the collision.
Amanda M. Sandoval, 34, is “absolutely” sorry about failing to yield to the motorcycle on O’Brien Road east of Port Angeles, leaving Sharron Ruth Currie, 63, dead at the scene.
Her husband, Michael Lee Currie, 64, who was likely driving the motorcycle, according to authorities, was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle in serious condition.
Currie was upgraded last week to satisfactory condition, where he remained Tuesday morning.
“If I could trade places with them in an instant, I would,” said Sandoval, who was not injured in the wreck.
“It makes me really emotional.”
She would not say if she has spoken with the Curries’ family.
“It’s being handled privately,” Sandoval said.
“It’s a private matter that affects more than myself.”
The Curries were northbound on their 1991 Harley Davidson while Sandoval was southbound in her 2006 Chevy Silverado pickup when Sandoval turned left into Fairview Bible Church in front of the couple, who collided into the side of the vehicle.
Sandoval, who was not injured, said she used her turn signal and was unaware the motorcycle was traveling toward her.
“I didn’t see it,” she said.
Chief Criminal Deputy Brian King of the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office said last week Sandoval became aware of the motorcycle when it hit her truck.
Crash investigator Detective Josh Ley said Tuesday both vehicles were at or under the speed limit.
Authorities said drugs and alcohol were not involved.
Sandoval said that “of course” she will pay the $238 fine for infraction of “failure to yield left turn vulnerable user” that is on her ticket rather than contest it.
The fine for failure to yield was increased as of Jan. 1 to account for instances in which vulnerable users such as cyclists, pedestrians, wheelchair users and motorcyclists are involved.
What Sandoval did “does not rise beyond failure to yield,” Ley said. “It does not fulfill the elements of negligence or [being done] for criminal purposes.”
Prosecuting Attorney Mark Nichols was consulted before the infraction was issued.
“I do not at this time hear anything from the Sheriff’s Office that indicates there is criminal culpability,” Nichols said.
“In many circumstances such as this, you have an inattentive driver who had no intent to commit a crime,” he added.
“That does not take away from the seriousness of the outcome and the fact a human life was lost.
“It may speak to filing a civil suit, but it’s not something that is litigated in the criminal courts.”
Criminal charges can grow from a failure-to-yield incident if drugs or alcohol are involved, Nichols said.
Ley, who rides a motorcycle, said it’s plausible for people to say they did not see oncoming motorcyclists.
A motorcycle’s single headlight may appear to be a car at a great distance, leading drivers to misjudge locations, Ley said.
A typical driver is looking for a pair of headlights coming in the opposite direction, he said.
“Scan for all types of vehicles to expect a single headlight,” Ley advised. “It’s not always a pair of headlights that are approaching.
“She just did not see the motorcycle there.”
Sandoval said her brother survived a motorcycle mishap.
“It’s just been a really painful time,” she said of the last several days.
The religious faith she has closely adhered to for the last 10 years has helped her, Sandoval added.
“I’ve just been giving everything up to God.
“He has been my savior and my strength.
“He’s that same strength now.”
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].