PORT TOWNSEND — Two wrecks in East Jefferosn County illustrate the need for caution when driving around large semi trucks, said Trooper Katherine Weatherwax, State Patrol spokesperson.
No one was injured in the two Thursday crashes, but they both badly damaged two pickups, she said in an email
Weatherwax urged people to drive more safely around commercial vehicles, “give them plenty of space (and) know that it takes longer for them to stop,”
At 7:06 a.m. a 2016 Peterbuilt Tractor, driven by a 63-year-old male commercial driver from Aberdeen, was travelling westbound on state Highway 20 when he slowed to make a left turn onto southbound U.S. Highway 101, Weatherwax said.
A 1968 Dodge pickup driven by a 68-year-old man from Port Townsend, was following behind the truck. It’s brakes failed and the driver was unable to stop, Weatherwax said.
The driver tried to swerve right to avoid the collision but hit the rear of the tractor.There was considerable damage to the Dodge, which had only 50,000 miles on it, and no damage to the tractor, Weatherwax said.
Later that morning, at 8:38 a.m., a 2009 Ford Ranger pickup was travelling westbound on state Highway 104 near milepost 1, where the road travels steeply downhill, Weatherwax said.
In front of the pickup was a semi truck.
The pickup driver tried to overtake and pass the vehicle down the slope and slid on ice.
“The air temperature was 34 (degrees) so the road was probably colder than that, hence ice,” Weatherwax said.
As the vehicle was passing, it slid into the rear left tire of the semi and spun into the oncoming lanes.
The pickup was impaled by the eastbound guardrail and spun about 20 feet into the ditch.
The driver was entrapped and rescued by aid but was uninjured, Weatherwax said. He was cited for unsafe passing.
The semi did not stop. The driver probably did not know it had been hit, Weatherwax said.
She said that the State Patrol plans to put out a safety video about commercial vehicles next week.