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Rain starts fall, brings crashes

Thursday’s deluge of rain resulted in a string of accidents on Highway 20 stretching from Patmore Road north to Northgate Drive.

It was the first significant rain of the fall after a generally rainless summer and motorists obviously weren’t prepared for what it did to the roads.

Washington State Patrol troopers cited slick road conditions and inattentive drivers as major factors in the number of traffic snafus. The first heavy fall rain settles on top of a buildup of exhaust fumes and leaked oil on the roadways, creating a dangerous mixture of water and oil products.

Early in the afternoon, a two-vehicle collision near Patmore Road involving a dump truck slowed motorists to a crawl. The crash blocked traffic, but neither motorist was injured.

Minutes later, an accident on Highway 20 near Swantown Road drew onlookers and clogged traffic, as Oak Harbor police worked to clear the wreck. Again, police said it was a non-injury accident.

Just before 4 p.m., a third accident, involving three vehicles, stacked up drivers in the area of Northgate Drive.

Kailey S. Growney, 18, of Oak Harbor was driving her Nissan Sentra south on Highway 20 and was unable to stop in time to avoid rear-ending a second Nissan Sentra in front of her, driven by Thomas C. Cook, 51, of Friday Harbor.

Washington State Patrol troopers on-scene said Growney swerved to try to avoid the collision with Cook, which resulted in Growney’s vehicle clipping the front of a Chevy Suburban, driven by Christopher K. Burgess, 47, of Anacortes, that was stopped at the intersection of Banta Road and Highway 20.

None of the three drivers were injured in the accident, but traffic on Highway 20 near Northgate Drive was backed up for at least half a mile in each direction.

State troopers are still investigating the accident, but said that Growney could be cited for “speed too fast to avoid a collision.”

And at approximately 4:30 p.m., State Patrol troopers were dispatched to yet another collision, this one on Highway 20, south of Oak Harbor. Details of that wreck weren’t immediately available.

More rain is expected to fall sporadically this weekend, but now that the oil is washed off the roads conditions should not be quite so hazardous.

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