SEQUIM — JoVonne Lingvall has no memory of being hit by a vehicle as she left Mass last November.
Lingvall, 88, was crossing the street in a crosswalk with her sister, Lorraine Anderson, following the service at St. Joseph Catholic Church at about 5:30 p.m. on a stormy night when a 41-year-old driver struck both women, Sequim police confirmed after reviewing security footage at the scene.
Lingvall was sent to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with a brain bleed and was released with a cracked bone in one of her legs. Anderson, 89, died from her injuries four days later at Olympic Medical Center, family members said.
The driver, who has not been named, was issued a traffic violation for failure to yield at a crosswalk.
“It’s a blessing not to remember,” Lingvall said.
More than 10 months later, Lingvall said she continues to find comfort in her faith.
“The night we were injured, we sat together, said the rosary for the congregation, received communion and then walked out,” she said.
“(Faith) helps you accept things that happen.”
Since the incident, Sequim officials, with direction from the City Council, church leaders with Clallam Catholic — an umbrella of the county’s four parishes — and Anderson’s family have worked on the crosswalk with the goal to prevent future collisions.
The city obtained a $17,500 grant earlier this year from the Washington Association of Cities that led to the purchase and installation of two solar-powered LED pedestrian crossing signs and mounted traffic delineators.
They were installed on Aug. 12, Sequim Public Works director Matt Klontz said.
The new pedestrian crossing will help with the area’s higher risks, Klontz said, being by an intersection that connects to an arterial, serves as a main access route to the Sequim Post Office and has high pedestrian traffic at certain times of day.
“(It’ll) assist both motorists and pedestrians in bringing immediate attention to the use of the crossing where motorists may not be anticipating or expecting pedestrians,” Klontz said.
Cathy Wiswell, regional administrator for Clallam Catholic Parishes, said church members are “very grateful” for the city’s support, especially with it getting darker earlier in the coming months.
To ensure even greater safety, Wiswell said the church resurfaced its parking lot in late August and added 10 cement, tire-stop parking dividers along Maple Street so vehicles cannot go directly into the crosswalk.
Lingvall returned to church about two months after the collision for her sister’s funeral and began regularly attending services soon thereafter. She said she’s mostly maintained her routine of attending St. Joseph services since she moved to Sequim in May 1941.
“(The crosswalk) is well-needed,” Lingvall said. “I felt the church and city did a good job. Too bad we didn’t have it sooner. (Lorraine) could still be alive.”
She feels the crosswalk will serve the parish well with children and adults crossing at night for education classes, services and choir practices.
As for her recovery, Lingvall said she doesn’t have the same energy as she did prior to the collision, but she recently surprised herself when she only took a 15-minute break after working in her yard for a few hours and then walked 2 miles with a neighbor.
“At my age, I’m driving, taking care of my needs, and I don’t need to hire a housekeeper,” she said.
Lingvall said she and her sister were born 18 months apart, and they were “almost like twin sisters.”
“When we both lost our husbands, we would just call each other, share things, and now she’s not there to share anymore,” she said.
“It’s hard to get used to.”
She remembers Lorraine as someone who was “always concerned about others who might need help, was the first one there to help, and she was very loving and personable.”
Anderson is survived by three children, Debbie, Mike and Paula. Her son Jim Anderson died in June 2020. She also has eight grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren, family members said.
She spent her married life in Port Angeles as a homemaker with her husband Bill Anderson, who died about 15 years ago.
Anderson returned to Sequim and focused on family, church and her garden.
Lingvall was also a homemaker with three children, seven grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.
St. Joseph has weekend Mass at 5 p.m. Saturdays and 8:30 a.m. Sundays in Sequim. Mass schedules and additional information for Queen of Angels in Port Angeles, St. Anne in Forks and St. Thomas in Clallam Bay can be found at clallamcatholic.org.
Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected]