A Port Townsend woman remains hospitalized in serious condition after being injured in a five-vehicle accident that closed State Route 20 for nearly two hours on Saturday morning, Dec. 17.
The chain-reaction accident began when an eastbound vehicle stopped to make a left turn into the driveway accessing A Plus Equipment Rentals.
According to the Washington State Patrol, at about 7:55 a.m., Dec. 17, Robert E. Hoovan, 32, of Port Hadlock was driving a red 1993 Jeep Wrangler eastbound on SR 20 (toward Port Townsend) and stopped in the 50-mph speed zone, waiting for traffic clearance to make what is a legal left turn, according to trooper Russ Winger, District 8 public information officer, Washington State Patrol.
Raymond C. Jackson, 50, of Port Townsend was driving a black 1999 Volkswagen Beetle eastbound with Alice Yantz, 57, of Port Townsend as a passenger. Jackson stopped his vehicle behind the Jeep.
Jordan C. Perez, 32, of Bremerton was driving a white 1997 Ford box van eastbound and rear-ended the Volkswagen, which went forward into the Jeep. The VW continued in motion, crossed into SR 20’s westbound lane and struck a blue 2000 Ford F150 pickup driven by Lance J. Annexstad, 37, of Port Townsend, according to the state patrol.
The Ford pickup rotated 180 degrees into the eastbound lane and struck a dark blue 2010 Honda Civic four-door sedan driven by Fernando E. Lamas, 25, of Port Townsend. The pickup’s bed came to rest on the Honda’s hood.
East Jefferson Fire Rescue personnel responded to the accident scene, and the highway was closed in both directions.
Jackson was transported by aid vehicle to Jefferson Healthcare hospital in Port Townsend with minor injuries. Yantz was transported to Harrison Medical Center in Silverdale, where she was met by an Airlift Northwest helicopter and flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. As of Dec. 19, Yantz was listed in serious condition in Harborview’s intensive care unit, according to a hospital spokesperson.
On Dec. 20, Jackson posted on ptleader.com that he has fractured ribs and suffered a concussion.
None of the other four motorists involved were injured. Everyone involved was wearing a safety belt. All vehicles sustained damage.
The accident’s cause and citation are for Perez driving too fast for conditions, according to the state patrol.
The Dec. 17 wreck on SR 20 is similar to a rear-end accident reported at the same location on Sept. 23, although no one suffered serious injuries in that wreck.
According to trooper Winger, it is legal to make a left turn over double yellow lines in certain situations, such as into a driveway or other non-intersection entrance. “It of course must be done in a safe manner with regard to other traffic,” Winger noted.
There was a rear-end wreck Dec. 5 just west on SR 20 when a motorist stopped in the lane while attempting to turn left across double yellow lines into the Arrow Lumber & Hardware driveway. However, that business has special right-turn-in and right-turn-out lanes.
Turn lanes are added to highways based on a variety of criteria, according to Claudia Bingham Baker, communications manager for the Washington State Department of Transportation’s Olympic Region. The criteria process starts with locations that have a significant number of crashes compared to other locations with similar characteristics, she said. A next step would be to examine the severity of those crashes, the cause of each crash, such as weather, surface condition, lighting, time of day, driver behavior, traffic volumes and other considerations. Another step would be to determine if countermeasures are available.
“We try to start with more low-cost, operational improvements such as striping and lighting,” Bingham Baker said. “If those are not appropriate, [the location] is put into priority for a funded safety project, a lengthy process in which the location competes statewide with all other locations.”