Driver in 2004 head-on collision gets three months in jail

PORT ANGELES — Gary Alan Gilbeck, 35, has been sentenced to three months jail time in connection with a fatal head-on collision on U.S. Highway 101 in May 2004.

The crash killed 57-year old Klaus J. Steinhorst of Sequim.

Under terms of a court-amended plea bargain, Gilbeck, a Port Angeles man, on Wednesday in Clallam County Superior Court received three months in the Clallam County jail, three months electronic home monitoring and 12 months probation.

The charge had been amended from vehicular homicide, a Class A felony, to vehicular assault, a Class B felony.

Steinhorst’s widow, Cathy, and daughter, Sandi, declined comment in an e-mail message.

The crash occurred at about 7 a.m. just east of Shore Road, between Port Angeles and Carlsborg.

State troopers said Gilbeck, driving a 1988 Chevrolet pickup truck eastbound, crossed the centerline to pass a vehicle and collided with Steinhorst’s 1990 Chevrolet pickup, which was heading westbound on a two-lane stretch of road.

Steinhorst’s truck flipped on its side, while Gilbeck’s truck skidded to a stop several hundred feet away.

Steinhorst, a mechanic for Nippon Paper Industries USA Co. Ltd. in Port Angeles and a retired chief warrant officer with the U.S. Coast Guard, was found dead when rescue crews arrived.

Gilbeck suffered numerous broken bones and underwent multiple surgeries in Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center after the crash.

A bank account was later established to help Gilbeck, his wife and two children with expenses.

In August 2004, Gilbeck was charged with vehicular homicide, a charge that was later reduced.

Charging documents alleged that Gilbeck consumed intoxicants prior to the collision.

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