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Witnesses sought in former Coupeville dermatologist's death

Detectives with the Washington State Patrol are seeking witnesses to the Feb. 12 collision at Deception Pass that killed 53-year-old dermatologist Donald “Russell” Johnson.

Detective Sgt. Jerry Cooper said he and other detectives with the Washington State Patrol’s Major Accident Investigation Team are investigating the accident and are hoping to find additional witnesses.

“We are looking for anyone who witnessed any part of it,” Cooper said. “That could mean hours or even days before the actual accident. We’re looking for anyone with a different perspective.”

If you have any information or know somebody that does, please contact Detective Sgt. Jerry Cooper at 360-805-1192 or Detective Curt Ladines at 360-805-1160.

The accident occurred at around 6 a.m. last Sunday. Johnson fled from a state trooper who was trying to pull him over for reckless driving and speeding, according to the state patrol.

Johnson sped away north on Highway 20, lost control of his 2000 Toyota Celica and crashed into the rock wall adjacent to the south side of the highway. Johnson, who wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, was ejected and came to rest in the northbound lane. The trooper drove up to the collision scene and was not able to stop before running over the body in the roadway.

“I think he was just trying to make the curve at a high speed and just couldn’t negotiate,” Cooper said, adding that “critical speed scuffs” at the scene showed that Johnson was trying to turn.

 

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