Investigation: Head trauma cause of Tribal Council member’s death

PORT ANGELES — A longtime member of the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Council died of head trauma when his car went off Mount Pleasant Road last week east of Port Angeles about a mile from his home, according to an autopsy.

When Kurt Grinnell, 57, left a straight portion of the roadway at about 4 p.m. April 20 in dry conditions, his 2012 Toyota Camry hit a fence post that came into the vehicle, striking him, Brian King, sheriff’s office chief criminal deputy, said Thursday.

Grinnell was about a mile from home, returning from a Northwest Aquaculture Alliance board meeting in Sumner, 116 miles away.

King said the investigation is continuing into why Grinnell’s vehicle veered off the roadway, rolling to a stop against a tree about 30 feet from the pavement.

The autopsy of Grinnell ruled out a heart attack, Mark Nichols, Clallam County prosecuting attorney-coroner, said this week.

“That is the sort of event that would normally show up in an autopsy,” he said.

“Grinnell was very healthy, and there was no indication of any medical issue.”

Nichols said he is awaiting toxicology test results that may take weeks to be completed.

Grinnell was wearing a seat belt and his airbag was not activated during the wreck, Josh Ley, county sheriff’s office collision reconstructionist, said this week.

“There was nothing to cause it to deploy,” he said Thursday.

“It takes a certain amount of force collision to activate that airbag,” King said.


Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55650, or at pgottlieb@

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