PORT ANGELES — A Forks woman was spared serious injury shortly before noon on Christmas day after her four-door pickup truck flipped over on a steep U.S. Highway 101 hill 3 miles west of Port Angeles at the Elwha River.
Katelynn L. Kerschner, 26, was eastbound at about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday to enjoy a holiday dinner with her family when her Toyota Tundra veered off the road, hit a rock, flipped over and ended up on its roof, sparking a small fire in its engine compartment and a brief closure of 101, authorities said.
Kerschner was pulled out of the vehicle uninjured, walking away shaken and tearful.
She stood on the road shoulder after the mishap while gasoline leaked from her Toyota.
“I just lost control,” she said after taking personal items out of the vehicle.
Family members were there to comfort her.
Dan Huff, Clallam County Fire District 2 assistant chief, said fire units extinguished a small fire in the engine compartment.
The State Patrol said Kerschner crossed the centerline while traveling eastbound.
She over-corrected, struck a rock in the eastbound ditch, and turned over, her vehicle coming to rest on its top and facing west in the westbound lane.
The State Patrol cited Kerschner for speeding too fast for conditions.
The mishap caused a brief closure of 101 in both directions.
The pickup was moved to the road shoulder and the scene was cleared at 1:30 p.m.
Emergency personnel were processing the scene just west of Laird’s Corner shortly after the mishap.
A State Trooper pointed out a man leaning against his vehicle who pulled Kerschner to safety.
The man, who identified himself as Keith and would not give his last name, said he was westbound when he saw the rollover.
“I think she just lost control and went into the ditch, and the ditch flipped her over,” he said.
Kerschner was wedged into the driver’s-side seat with her door stuck shut.
The man was able to open one of the back doors to pull her out.
“She was awake, nervous, but seemed OK,” he said.
“She was just scared.
“She just needed someone there to help her.”
Huff said emergency personnel who responded included a medic unit, a fire engine, two command vehicles from Clallam County Fire District 2 and two units from the Washington State Patrol.
Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at [email protected].