Woman hurt in head-on collision

Patrick J. Sullivan psullivan@ptleader.com
Posted 2/21/17

A Port Townsend–area woman remains in serious condition at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle after the vehicle she was driving collided head-on with a dump truck Feb. 14 on Hastings …

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Woman hurt in head-on collision

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A Port Townsend–area woman remains in serious condition at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle after the vehicle she was driving collided head-on with a dump truck Feb. 14 on Hastings Avenue.

According to the Port Townsend Police Department (PTPD), Jane C. Lee, 67, was driving a gray Toyota Tacoma pickup westbound (heading out of Port Townsend) on Hastings Avenue at about 4:25 p.m. She apparently lives in that area, just outside the city limits.

While attempting to pass a vehicle in the 35-mph zone, the pickup went directly into the path of an eastbound dump truck, with a dump trailer attached.

Kelly Brebberman of Port Townsend was driving on Sheridan Street and turned west onto Hastings when, in her rearview mirror, she noticed a vehicle that she described as being driven erratically. “Next thing I know, [the vehicle] was tailgating me so close, I couldn’t see her headlights in my rearview mirror,” Brebberman told The Leader.

The vehicle, a pickup, began to pass Brebberman’s vehicle, while a dump truck approached in the opposite lane near the intersection of Ivy Street.

“I have no idea how [the driver] could not have seen [the dump truck],” Brebberman said. “I looked again in my rearview mirror and saw [the pickup] just explode into pieces on impact.”

The Toyota pickup came to a stop along Hastings’ westbound lane.

Brebberman stopped her car, backed up, exited and ran to the pickup while calling 911 on her cell phone. Both of the pickup’s airbags had deployed, she said. She told the driver, who was conscious, that emergency aid was on the way.

“I heard the sirens while I was still on the phone with dispatch,” Brebberman said of the prompt emergency response.

East Jefferson Fire Rescue (EJFR) personnel had to extricate the driver. She was transported by aid vehicle to Jefferson County International Airport to meet an Airlift Northwest helicopter for transport to Harborview. On Feb. 21, a hospital spokesperson reported that Lee was in serious condition in the intensive care unit, upgraded from critical condition.

After the impact, the dump truck swerved off the south side of Hastings before overcorrecting, crossing the road and running through a tree barrier of a nearby house on the street’s north side. Dave Moore, the driver of the dump truck owned by Seton Construction, was shaken up but uninjured, according to EJFR.

The dump truck had a ruptured fuel tank and was also leaking hydraulic fluid, which required a hazardous material cleanup, said Bill Beezley, EJFR public information officer. The truck also had significant damage to its front left wheel and suspension, requiring a specialty tow truck to be dispatched from Bremerton.

Hastings Avenue was closed for more than four hours by the investigation and vehicle removal. The Washington State Patrol assisted with the accident investigation; a final report is expected in about a month, said PTPD Sgt. Troy Surber.

(The first version of this story appeared Feb. 15 on ptleader.com.)

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