PORT ANGELES — A Port Angeles teen was arrested for investigation of vehicular assault after the SUV he was driving plunged almost 400 feet down a Black Diamond Road embankment, the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office said.
Gunner S. Gallauher, 18, was booked into the Clallam County jail Friday after the wreck, which was reported to Clallam County Fire District No. 2 at 12:39 that morning, said Sheriff’s Sgt. John Hollis.
Gallauher was not listed on the jail roster Saturday afternoon.
Gallauher and two passengers were reportedly treated and released for minor injuries from Olympic Medical Center after emergency crews from several different departments worked for two hours and 35 minutes to bring them up to the road.
One of the occupants suffered a fractured rib, Hollis said.
Two others reportedly walked away from the crash and were checked out by emergency medical personnel at the scene before they were taken home.
Hollis identified three passengers as Port Angeles residents Dustin Taylor, 22; Keegan Walker, 18; and Alexander Evans, 18.
One other passenger was a minor whom Hollis declined to identify, citing Sheriff’s Office policy for juveniles.
Hollis said Gallauher admitted to a deputy that he was traveling northbound on Black Diamond Road at a rate of about 60 mph in a 35 mph zone when he attempted to pass another vehicle in a no passing zone, near a sharp corner, in the 100 block of Black Diamond Road.
“Gallauher failed to negotiate the corner; his vehicle slid sideways and rolled several hundred feet over the embankment to the west,” Hollis said in a news release.
Although rescue personnel initially reported the crash as being at the bottom of a 160-foot embankment, Hollis said that he had asked for a 400-foot rope for the rescue.
That rope, he said, ended up about 10 feet short of the 2007 Nissan Juke SUV, found on its roof down the slope, he said.
A paramedic with Fire District No. 2 and three deputies with the Sheriff’s Office lowered themselves down the embankment to reach the teens and assess their injuries, said Assistant Fire Chief Mike DeRousie.
Working in the dark and in thick underbrush, rescuers were able to see the SUV only by the light of a cellphone held up by one of the passengers, Hollis said.
Hollis, who also is an emergency medical technician, said the driver and passengers were “pretty banged up” when the first crews reached them.
All the occupants had been able to get out of the SUV except for a backseat passenger, Hollis said.
Three were brought up in a litter basket one at a time, he said.
Rescuers finished their work at about 3:15 a.m.
Few details about the crash were available initially, Hollis said.
“At the time,” he said, “we were more interested in helping [the victims].”
Earlier in the investigation, one of the occupants of the SUV told Hollis that Gallauher had swerved to avoid another car coming down the hill that had crossed into his lane.
Hollis said the wreck remains under investigation.
No drugs or alcohol were found in the vehicle, and deputies saw no signs of drug or alcohol use, he said.
The Port Angeles Fire Department’s High-Angle Rescue team responded as well as the Clallam County Search and Rescue team with lights and more manpower.
The vehicle was towed at the request of the vehicle’s owners, Gallauher’s parents, Hollis said.
________Assistant Managing Editor Mark Swanson can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 55450, or [email protected]