Quick thinking helped minimize injuries in Coupeville crash

A Harley-Davidson driven by a Yelm man sits along the side of the road after an accident south of Coupeville Wednesday.  - Photo by Michelle Beahm/Whidbey News-Times
A Harley-Davidson driven by a Yelm man sits along the side of the road after an accident south of Coupeville Wednesday.
— image credit: Photo by Michelle Beahm/Whidbey News-Times

Two people were injured in a motorcycle versus car accident on State Highway 20 Wednesday afternoon just south of Coupeville.

The accident occurred at approximately 3:49 p.m. when the driver of a car slowed to turn left from the highway onto Parker Road, yielding to oncoming northbound traffic.

The driver, Megan Manker, 46, of Coupeville, saw the motorcycle approaching from behind and didn’t think it would stop in time, so she started accelerating forward to try to avoid an accident, according to a report prepared by Washington State Patrol Sgt. Oscar Garcia.

Garcia said that the driver of the motorcycle, upon noticing the nearly halted car, swerved left to try and avoid hitting Manker’s 2010 Nissan Altima.

The motorcyclist was unable to avoid a collision, however, and struck the car’s left side, according to the State Patrol report.

“That caused the motorcycle to lean over on its left side,” Garcia said. “The rear passenger ­­— there were two people on the motorcycle — male, female …”

The couple, Raymond Hollister and Judith Nyberg, both 73, were thrown from the motorcycle as it rolled over, Garcia said.

Hollister, of Yelm, and Nyberg, of Chehalis, were transported to nearby Whidbey General Hospital to be treated for injuries, according to Garcia. Their condition was unknown at press time.

Garcia said the injured motorcyclists had been transported from the scene of the accident by the time he arrived.

“What I got was they were in serious condition, so that was the reason we were out here, shutting down the road, marking the evidence, just in case,” Garcia said.

He said that Manker’s quick decision to pull her car forward lessened the amount of damage that might have resulted from the accident.

“The driver of the car wasn’t injured,” he said. “She did a great job by moving forward. She kind of minimized the actual injuries to the motorcycle rider. If she wouldn’t have done that, it would have been more severe.”

Both motorcycle riders were wearing helmets and Manker was wearing her seatbelt, according to the State Patrol report.

Garcia said there was damage to Manker’s car, but it was drivable. After changing her tire, Manker drove away.

Hollister and Nyberg’s Harley Davidson motorcycle was totaled. It was impounded to Simmons Towing, according to the State Patrol report.

A citation will likely be issued to Hollister, but Garcia said he didn’t know yet what the offense might be.

The State Patrol report states that the cause of the accident was inattentive driving, but the investigation was still pending as of Thursday morning.

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