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Oak Harbor driver in Oct. 31 fatality arrested on warrant
An Oak Harbor man accused of causing an accident that killed a teenager and seriously injured her twin and another girl turned himself in on an arrest warrant Thursday, according to a detective with the Washington State Patrol.
Troopers found no indication that Ira Blackstock, 53, was drinking prior to the crash, but his blood will be tested after field sobriety tests showed signs of possible impairment from medication or drugs, said Craig Cardinal, a detective with the Washington State Patrol said.
Janeah Goheen, a 17-year-old Oak Harbor resident, died at the scene of the Oct. 31 accident; her twin sister, Janesah Goheen, was injured, as was Alysha Pickler, 18, of Oak Harbor.
Cardinal said Blackstock, the driver who caused the collision, suffered a broken leg but was arrested on the night of the accident.
Blackstock was released from jail on bail. The Skagit County prosecuting attorney obtained a $250,000 warrant for the arrest of Blackstock on suspicion of vehicular homicide and two counts of vehicular assault.
Cardinal said Blackstock wasn’t home when officers went to arrest him, but that he later turned himself in.
According to Skagit County Prosecutor Richard Weyrich, the judge kept Blackstone’s bail at $250,000 during a hearing Thursday.
Cardinal said there was no evidence that Blackstock consumed alcohol prior to the accident, but his blood will be tested to determine whether he may have been impaired by a drug.
Cardinal said a state trooper who is “a drug recognition expert” and another trooper interviewed Blackstock at the hospital. They reported seeing some “clues” from a gaze nystagmus test and from his recitation of the alphabet that Blackstock may have been impaired, the detective said.
Cardinal said the toxicology results likely won’t be back for months.
Blackstock denies he was drinking or taking medication prior to the crash.
Under Washington state law, there are three “prongs” to the vehicular homicide and vehicular assault charges.
Those prongs cover driving while impaired, driving in a reckless manner and driving with disregard for others. Each prong has different standard sentence ranges; the DUI-related version is the most serious.
Cardinal said prosecutors had probable cause to believe Blackstock drove recklessly and with disregard for others.
According to Cardinal’s report on the accident, Blackstock was driving his 2006 Ford Mustang south on State Highway 20 from “Sharpes Corner” in Skagit County and “accelerated rapidly” as he approached the intersection with Gibraltar Road.
The car, which had near-bald rear tires, broke traction on the wet asphalt, began to fishtail side-to-side and crossed into the oncoming lane.
The Mustang struck an oncoming 1993 Acura driven by Janesah Goheen just after 5 p.m..
The collision caused the death of rear-passenger Janeah Goheen, life-threatening injuries to driver Janesah Goheen, and a concussion to the front-seat passenger, Alysha Pickler, the report states.
Janesah Goheen was listed Thursday afternoon in critical condition at the intensive care unit of Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
“The purposeful and reckless acceleration by Ira L. Blackstock caused his Ford Mustang to strike the oncoming Acura four-door close to the northbound fog line of State Route no. 20,” Cardinal wrote.
The reports states that the young women were headed to the Seattle area to attend different “haunted houses” in celebration of Halloween.
Cardinal said he believes that Blackstock’s rapid acceleration of the Mustang caused the accident, but he’s not sure he will be able to determine the speed of the car when it crossed the centerline.
Cardinal said he will obtain a search warrant to retrieve the computer in the Mustang to see if the speed was recorded.
An obituary for Janeah Goheen appears on page A8 of today’s Whidbey News-Times.