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Three killed, three injured in Friday night accident on North Whidbey
Three people were killed and three others were injured in a head-on, drug-related accident on Highway 20 north of Oak Harbor Friday night, according to the Washington State Patrol.
In an unusual development, two Oak Harbor women — both the driver and the front seat passenger — were arrested on suspicion of vehicular homicide, according to Sgt. Jason Longoria with the State Patrol. The driver, 21-year-old Jordyn Weichert of Oak Harbor, is being held without bail in Island County jail after a judge found probable cause for three counts of vehicular homicide and two counts of vehicular assault.
“It’s the worst accident on Whidbey Island that I can remember,” said Island County Sheriff Mark Brown, who worked as a state trooper on the island, beginning in 1994, before becoming sheriff.
Two Oak Harbor men, 25-year-old Jacob Quistorf and 26-year-old Francis Malloy, were fatally injured in the accident. The driver of the other car, 33-year-old Brian Wood of North Vancouver, BC, was also killed in the crash.
The accident occurred on Highway 20 near the intersection of Monkey Hill Road at 8:52 p.m. Longoria said the scene was horrific. Weichert, Malloy and another passenger, 22-year-old Samatha Bowling of Oak Harbor, weren’t wearing seat belts, he said, and were ejected from the vehicle.
Weichert was driving a 1994 Chevrolet Blazer northbound on Highway 20. Bowling was in the front passenger seat. The two Oak Harbor men were in the backseat.
Longoria said that the accident occurred when Weichert was trying to put on her sweater and Bowling was holding the steering wheel for her. When the Blazer started drifting to the left, both women jerked the steering wheel to the right and then over-corrected again by steering back to the left, sending the Blazer across the centerline, Longoria reported.
The Blazer struck — and drove over the top of — an oncoming 2004 Subaru driven by Brian Wood. While he was killed, his wife, 31-year-old Erin Wood, was injured and transported by ambulance to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. She is 6 months pregnant; Longoria said it appears that both she and the baby will be fine, health-wise. A Harborview spokesperson said Tuesday that Wood has been discharged.
Bowling was seriously injured and was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center for treatment. She suffered a broken leg and possibly other injuries, the state patrol reported. She was listed in satisfactory condition Tuesday afternoon.
Weichert, who was arrested at the scene, was injured and transported to Whidbey General Hospital. She was later transferred to Skagit Valley Hospital for a mental health evaluation because of concerns about her possibly harming herself, but then released to law enforcement, according to the sheriff’s office.
Weichert made her preliminary appearance telephonically in Superior Court Sunday.
Longoria said Bowling was also arrested on suspicion of three counts of vehicular homicide because of her alleged role in the accident.
Yet Deputy Prosecutor David Carman said he’s in no hurry to make any charging decision about Bowling because of her injuries. He’s in the process of researching whether she can be charged with vehicular homicide, given that she was in the passenger seat. Under the statute, only a driver can be charged with vehicular homicide or vehicular assault, so he’ll have to figure out whether holding a steering wheel makes someone a driver.
While the state patrol concluded that the accident was drug-related, neither prosecutors nor state patrol officials would speculate about what types of drugs may have been involved.
Carman said he’s waiting for the results of a blood test to decide whether to charge Weichert with the “under the influence” prong of vehicular homicide, which is the most serious version of the offense. He said he’ll likely charge her Thursday.
Accident victim Francis Malloy, along with his brother Zane, made regional headlines four years ago when they saved a baby at the Oak Harbor Marina. The two young men were divers who worked at their family’s boat repair business. They leaped into action when a baby in a stroller rolled off a dock and into the cold water. They rescued the child before the stroller sank to the bottom.