Oak Harbor man hospitalized after minivan collides with semi on North Whidbey
By JUSTIN BURNETT
Whidbey News Times Staff reporter
February 16, 2011 · Updated 9:44 AM
An Oak Harbor man was hospitalized Monday after his minivan van collided with a semi-truck parked along the shoulder of Taylor Road.
According to Washington State Patrol Trooper Josh Lancaster, the accident happened at about 11:10 a.m. William Growney, 77, was driving northbound on Taylor Road and had just passed Whispering Pine Lane when his 2005 Chrysler Town and Country minivan smashed into the back of the parked semi.
The vehicle, a large boom truck with an attached trailer, belongs to Bellingham-based GTS Drywall Supply. The truck was in the process of making a delivery and was parked on the shoulder but extended into the roadway.
Although Lancaster said it’s unclear how fast Growney was driving, the impact was enough to total the van and jack the trailer to a right angle into the roadway.
“He hit hard,” Lancaster said. “If he’d had a passenger, they would have been hurting.”
Matt Hernkind, 39, lives nearby and heard the impact from his house. It was so loud, that he thought at first that a tree had fallen on his home.
“It sounded like a freight train,” he said.
First on the scene, Hernkind said the man was conscious but appeared somewhat disorientated. Lancaster said he could not confirm the extent of Growney’s injuries but that he appeared to have walked away with a possible broken wrist and scrapes to his shins.
Growney was transported to Island Hospital in Anacortes. Hospital officials confirmed that he was in stable condition.
Lancaster said the accident is still under investigation, but a lack of skid marks on the roadway may indicate that Growney didn’t see the semi-truck. A news release later that day said that Growney may be cited with driving “too fast to avoid a collision.”
According to Hernkind, that stretch of roadway has been the location of several accidents over the years. It sits on a flat area between two hills, making visibility poor for vehicles driving at 50 mph. Monday’s accident was the last straw, and he plans to petition the county to have the speed limit reduced.
“Damn it, I’m going to do it ‘cause it’s ridiculous,” Hernkind firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-675-6611 ext. 5054.