Speed, distraction factors in Grinnell crash

Reconstructionist examines wreck

PORT ANGELES — Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Council member Kurt Grinnell was speeding southbound on Mount Pleasant Road last month with a cellphone videoplayer turned on, propped on the dashboard, when his vehicle veered off the roadway in a fatal wreck, a Clallam County crash expert said Friday.

Sheriff’s Office collision reconstructionist Josh Ley said Grinnell, 57, was driving about 55 mph in a 35-mph zone, his cellphone placed in front of him near the speedometer, when his 2012 black Toyota Camry went off a straight portion of the pavement at about 4 p.m. April 20.

“We looked at the phone itself, and there was an application in use,” Ley said.

“It appears a video was playing on his phone on the dashboard.

“Excessive speed and distracted driving. Those are the causation factors.”

Ley said he did not identify the specific video but Grinnell appears to have been watching a series of them.

The sheriff’s office is awaiting the results of toxicology tests and expects to release a final case report this week.

When Grinnell swerved off the road in the rural area east of Port Angeles, he struck a sign, two address markers and an unknown number of fence poles and posts, according to an initial case report released last week.

“The car was speeding up as it left the roadway,” Ley said.

A 2-by-6 fence post went through the windshield and struck Grinnell.

He died at the scene, according to the case report.

An autopsy determined the cause was head trauma.

The speed of the vehicle was determined by information derived from an air-bag sensor, Ley said.

“There were no defects to the car,” he added.

“There was nothing found in the environment that contributed to the loss of control and mechanism of injury.”

Grinnell, the CEO of Jamestown Seafood and a pioneer of tribal aquaculture activities, was about a mile from home.

Ley said he reported his findings last week to Grinnell’s family.

Two generations of the family helped clean the crash site on their own prerogative, Ley said.

“They were there ahead of me,” Ley said.

“They were just wonderful people, a very classy, gracious family.”

A memorial service that several hundred people attended in person and by watching online was held in Grinnell’s honor May 1 at Jamestown Beach.


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

More in News

Volunteers work to construct the main play structure of the Dream Playground at Erickson Playfield in Port Angeles on Sunday, the last day of a five-day community build to replace play equipment destroyed by arson in December. The playground, built entirely with donated labor, will be substantially complete with primarily detail work and play surface installation still to come. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Finishing touches

Volunteers work to construct the main play structure of the Dream Playground… Continue reading

Seabrook CEO Casey Roloff talks with community members about a planned 500- to 600-home development near Sequim Bay on April 23 at John Wayne Marina. (Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Sequim site could include 600 homes

Developer eyeing property near John Wayne Marina

Wait times at Olympic Medical Center emergency department improving, board told

Hospital aims to see patients within 30 minutes of arrival

Clallam to develop Salt Creek campsites for trail

Estimated development cost is $15,000 with annual maintenance at $1,500

Sarge’s Veteran Support house managers, from left, Danny Deckert, David Durnford and Steve Elmelund welcome attendees to the organization’s first fundraiser at the Dungeness River Nature Center on April 27. The event raised nearly $50,000. (Sarge’s Veteran Support)
Sarge’s Veterans Support gets nearly $49K in first fundraiser

More than 100 attend event at Dungeness River Nature Center

Sequim schools looking at options with budget struggles

District freezes most hiring, aims to cut at least $2.5 million

Gary Reidel, representing Wilder Toyota, plucks the winning duck from a truck. Wilder sponsored the winners prize of a 2024 Toyota Corolla. And the winner is Sarah Aten of Port Angeles. Her response was, “That’s amazing, that’s amazing.” There was 28,764 ducks sold this year as of race day. The all-time high was back in 2008 when over 36,000 were sold. (Dave Logan/For Peninsula Daily News)
Thirty-five winners announced in Great Olympic Peninsula Duck Pluck

Fundraising record set for Olympic Medical Center Foundation

Sewer project starting in west Port Angeles

Work crews from Scarsella Brothers, Inc., will resume construction… Continue reading

Port Angeles City Council to conduct special meeting

The Port Angeles city council will conduct a workshop… Continue reading

Weekly flight operations scheduled

There will be field carrier landing practice operations for aircraft… Continue reading

Port Angeles Fire Department community paramedic Brian Gerdes flips pancakes during Saturday’s annual breakfast on Saturday at the fire hall. The event, hosted by the fire department and auxiliary, was a fundraiser for department scholarships and relief baskets. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Pancake fundraiser in Port Angeles

Port Angeles Fire Department community paramedic Brian Gerdes flips pancakes during Saturday’s… Continue reading

Work begins on sewer project

Intermittent closures planned in Port Hadlock