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Poorly loaded cement blamed for fatal crash

The husband of an Oak Harbor woman who died from injuries sustained in an April 10, 2002, accident on Highway 20 is suing the company that sold her bags of cement and loaded them into her horse trailer.

John Cook, through his attorney Jacob Cohen of Oak Harbor, filed a complaint for damages for wrongful death against Lumbermens. Inc., in Island County Superior Court last month.

Linda Cook, 46, lost control of her 1993 Ford Bronco when she was northbound on the long, downhill stretch of the highway south of Libbey Road. She was pulling a horse trailer, which employees at Lumbermens Building Center had loaded with 40 bags, each weighing 60 pounds, of concrete mix, the complaint states.

The Bronco and horse trailer started swaying, then slammed through a guard rail, went down a steep embankment and finally wedged into a stand of evergreens and sand.

The complaint states that the “swaying of the horse trailer, which was the cause of the accident, was proximately caused by the improper and negligent loading of the cement bags into the horse trailer by the agents and/or employees of the defendant.”

Rescue workers had to cut Cook out of the demolished Bronco and form a human chain to pass her up the hill to an ambulance. She was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle where she died five days later as a result of her injuries, the complaint states.

The complaint does not state whose idea is was to put the cement in the trailer. A representative from Lumbermens had no comment.

The complaint requests damages for John Cook and the couple’s four children. Specifically, it requests compensation for her personal injury resulting in death, her pain and suffering, financial damages to her estate, financial and emotional damages for her survivors and compensation for the family’s “loss of companionship, love, affection, support, care, society and guidance, including destruction of the parent/child relationship.”

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