News

Speed blamed in fatal wreck

A 29-year-old Oak Harbor woman was thrown from a car and killed Friday afternoon after a speeding convertible struck a telephone pole, shearing it in two and knocking out power to a North Whidbey neighborhood.

Firefighters and paramedics attempted to resuscitate Molly Rice and set up an airlift to transport her to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, but the flight was called off when it became clear that she couldn’t be saved.

The State Patrol arrested the driver, 29-year-old Raymond Prokop of Oak Harbor, on suspicion of vehicular homicide. He’s out of jail on $50,000 bail and hasn’t been charged.

Detective Scott Whitman with the State Patrol said the cause of the accident appears to be speed, but toxicology results are pending. He estimates that the car was traveling at around 85 miles per hour, based on statements made by Prokop and witnesses.

The State Patrol reports that Prokop was driving a red 2005 Nissan 350Z south on Reservation Road. The car left the roadway to the right and struck a phone pole.

Rice, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected from the Nissan. She was found lying on top of a downed phone cable.

The accident was reported at 4:38 p.m. Island County Coroner Robert Bishop said Rice’s time of death was recorded at 5:15 p.m. The cause of her death was blunt force trauma to the torso.

Paramedics transported Prokop to Whidbey General Hospital, where he was treated and released. Whitman said Prokop suffered contusions and minor lacerations.

The road was closed for hours as law enforcement investigated the accident and Puget Sound Energy workers pulled the power lines off the ground.

Bishop said Rice and her husband, a Navy man named Terrance Rice, had just moved to Whidbey a month ago from Oklahoma. He was at Navy training in Florida when the accident occurred.

Rice’s parents live in South Korea. Her mother happened to be on the island, helping her with the move, last week.

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