Accident claims life of Coupeville man

A Coupeville man was killed Sunday afternoon when the 1999 Harley Davidson motorcycle he was riding collided with a 1999 Chevrolet Tahoe on Highway 525 at Mutiny Bay Road in Freeland.

Robert Cook, 41, died at the scene, while his passenger, Kelly Goudeau-Stenson, 39, of Coupeville, was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where she is listed in satisfactory condition.

Cook was traveling southbound on Highway 525 when the northbound Tahoe, driven by 32-year-old Carey J. Owen of Coupeville, veered onto the right shoulder to avoid a car turning left on Mutiny Bay Road. The Tahoe then went back onto the roadway, crossing both lanes of traffic and striking the motorcyle.

Ben McBride, a trooper with the Washington State Patrol, said the collision between the two vehicles sent the motorcycle on a deadly tumble.

“Cook struck the Tahoe on the right rear quarter of the passenger side while she (Owen) was in his lane of traffic,” McBride said. “To be honest, we don’t know if she was passing the turning car on the right shoulder or just swerving to avoid it.”

The State Patrol, state Department of Transportation, and the Island County Coronor’s office are still investigating the accident.

The second person to arrive on the scene of the accident was a friend of the deceased, Bill Crews. Crews is a firefighter with the Seattle Fire Department and owns property at Lagoon Point.

“I was at the Greenbank Store when I saw Robert go by,” Crews said. “We waved at each other.”

Crews said Cook was probably five minutes ahead of him traveling toward Freeland.

“The accident had probably happened just a minute or so before I got there,” he said. “The wheel on his motorcycle was still spinning. Someone had laid a blanket over Robert and a woman was sitting beside Robert’s passenger.”

Upon arriving at the accident scene, Crews’ 20 years of firefighting experience kicked in.

“I checked Robert’s carotid artery for a pulse and instructed the other woman on the scene to hold Kelly’s head steady,” he said.

Soon afterward, Island County Fire District 3 emergency services and paramedics were on the scene.

Crews said seeing his friend die was difficult for him, but he was glad that Goudeau-Stenson was successfully stabilized and airlifted to the hospital.

“I was very impressed by Whidbey’s emergency system,” he said. “They did an amazing job.”

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