A section of U.S. Highway 101 was closed for nearly four hours Dec. 7 after a male motorist was found deceased inside his vehicle, which was blocking the northbound lane.
What began as a possible criminal investigation became a medical incident, and was turned over to the Jefferson County coroner's office, said Russ Winger, District 8 public information officer, Washington State Patrol.
The victim was identified as Fred Fulton, a Kitsap County resident in his late 50s, said Anna Phillips, Jefferson County deputy prosecutor and the deputy coroner who went to the scene Dec. 7.
"There is no indication there is anything criminal related, or foul play," Phillips said Dec. 8. "All indications are he suffered some type of medical emergency and died of natural causes."
Michael Haas, Jefferson County prosecutor and coroner, said Dec. 8 that an autopsy had been ordered, with results expected in a few weeks.
According to Phillips, Fulton was behind the wheel of a pickup truck that had been northbound on Highway 101. At about milepost 311, a straight section between the Duckabush River Bridge and McDonald Creek Bridge, the pickup had stopped, slightly pulled off to the right but still blocking the northbound lane.
The blocking pickup was reported at about 4 p.m., Dec. 7. The initial report indicated a firearm was visible inside the vehicle. "That turned out not to be the case," Winger said.
The vehicle was locked when law enforcement arrived, and a window was broken to gain access, Winger noted. The vehicle did not collide with anything. Once troopers determined it was likely a medical incident, the scene was turned over to emergency first responders from the Brinnon Fire Department.
Phillips noted that she was told the man was found with a foot on the pickup's brake pedal as if he was trying to stop, or pull over."
The highway reopened to traffic at about 7:45 p.m., Dec. 7.