News

Flying SUV crushes gazebo

Island County Public Works cleaned up the remains of the gazebo that, prior to Sunday night, resided at the park area of Libbey Beach. The structure was partially destroyed when an SUV careened off the ledge and landed on the gazebo.  - Paul Boring/Whidbey News-Times
Island County Public Works cleaned up the remains of the gazebo that, prior to Sunday night, resided at the park area of Libbey Beach. The structure was partially destroyed when an SUV careened off the ledge and landed on the gazebo.
— image credit: Paul Boring/Whidbey News-Times

Reenacting the Wright Brothers’ early efforts, an SUV apparently took flight Sunday night above the Libbey Beach parking area when it drove over a metal guardrail and sailed down the steep embankment.

Although details of the crash are sketchy, it appears the 2004 Chevy Tahoe miraculously passed between two trees, splitting the uprights, only to meet vehicle-to-gazebo the structure residing in the grass at the bottom of the incline.

“It tore half the gazebo off. They somehow cleared the trees and landed in the grass over there,” said Marvin Strohschein of Island County Public Works, gesturing to a disturbed area of grass an unbelievable distance from the shorn-off gazebo. “How they got over there, I don’t know.”

The call came in at 10:39 p.m., Sunday from a person who reportedly heard voices and a loud crash.

“The reporting party saw two people walking around with minor cuts and scrapes,” said Island County Undersheriff Kelly Mauck.

The Washington State Patrol responded to the call. The driver, a 31-year-old female, was charged with DUI and driving with a suspended license, according to Trooper Larry Provoncha, who is working with the county on the process of determining property damages to a gazebo tragically squashed in the prime of its life. A 36-year-old male was riding shotgun.

“The vehicle was traveling west on Libbey Road. When it approached the turnaround, it failed to negotiate the gradual curve and launched through the guardrails,” Provoncha said.

Trooper Tim Yzaguirre responded to the accident.

In the driver’s impaired state, the extremely visible sign warning of an immediate sharp turn could have instead resembled a flashing yellow bull’s eye.

The physical state of the driver and passengers, both from the Oak Harbor area, was miraculous, given the possible severity of the accident. Provoncha, however, said there is no rhyme or reason to injuries.

“Sometimes people die in simple collisions,” he said. “And sometimes you see this. I have to say that walking away with only scratches is amazing in this case.”

The gazebo’s remains were removed from the poor man’s Kitty Hawk Wednesday. And the Tahoe driver can take some consolation in knowing that her air time was in some ways even more notable than the Wright Brothers.’ They never pancaked half a gazebo.

We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus

Read the latest Green Edition

Browse the print edition page by page, including stories and ads.

Aug 30 edition online now. Browse the archives.