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4-H counselor dies in motorcycle crash

"Diane Johnston, a well-known 4-H leader, animal trainer, volunteer, dog lover and Greenbank resident, was killed in a motorcycle accident on Highway 525 Saturday afternoon.Less than two hours later, an 18-year-old Everett man was seriously injured in a motorcycle accident near the same area.According to Washington State Patrol, Johnston, 44, was riding a 1999 Harley Davidson 1200 northbound on Highway 525 and left the road at Mohawk Drive. The accident was reported at 3:50 p.m. Although she was wearing a helmet, Johnston suffered massive head injuries. She was pronounced dead at Whidbey General Hospital at 5:18 p.m.Carol Barnes, a Coupeville resident and the Island County animal control officer, said Johnston was known by children and animal lovers throughout the county for her 20 years as a 4-H leader, for training horses and dogs, and for showing her own Belgian Turvins and Australian shepherds.“She will be greatly missed,” she said. “Diane had a strong love for children and animals. She devoted countless hours to children as a 4-H leader, teaching them how to care for animals, train them, and show them.”Johnston left behind a husband, Scott, and two children, Travis and Cassie. Travis is a senior in high school. Cassie is 20 years old.Cassie said her mother was her 4-H leader and inspired her to love, raise and show dogs. “She loved everyone,” she said.Cassie said her mother had just gotten the motorcycle and was out “having fun” when she crashed.Friends of the family have set up a Diane Johnston Memorial Fund at the Whidbey Island Bank to help the family out. The account number is 0950-089227.At 7 p.m. the same day, 18-year-old George Blakey crashed his 1991 Honda motorcycle on Smugglers Cove Road, the State Patrol reported. Blakey failed to negotiate a curve, drove off the road to the left and was ejected.According to the State Patrol, Blakey suffered internal injuries, cuts and bruises. He was transported to Whidbey General Hospital and then airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. He was listed in satisfactory condition Tuesday afternoon."

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