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Woman dies on Polnell Road crash

The winding, rural Oak Harbor roads claimed their first victim of the year early Monday morning when a 26-year-old woman was killed after failing to negotiate a curve on Polnell Road.

Dawn Cox, a military dependent, was traveling east on Polnell Road when, according to Island County Sheriff’s Deputy Lane Campbell, her 2003 Suzuki XL7 SUV left the “apex of the curve,” sending the vehicle down a steep embankment.

“The vehicle came to rest probably 30 to 40 feet off the road down an embankment,” Campbell said. “She was about 20 feet down and 30 feet off the road.”

Although the accident likely occurred around 1:30 a.m., Campbell said a homeowner in the area did not discover the wreckage and make the call until approximately 7:30 a.m.

The SUV struck three trees as it careened down the embankment, Campbell said. Excessive speed was a factor, he added, and other causes are being investigated. Cox was not wearing a seat belt and was thrown into the back seat during the accident.

“The only conclusion right now is high speed,” the deputy said. “We won’t know more until the autopsy results are back.”

Campbell was the first responder and found Cox barely alive but with labored breathing.

“She was clinging to life,” he said. The victim’s precarious positioning in the back seat made administering first aid difficult.

Cox was transported to Whidbey General Hospital where she later succumbed to the injuries. This is the first traffic fatality in Island County this year.

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