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Truck driver dies in freak accident at Liberty Market

Firefighters from North Whidbey Fire and Rescue along with paramedics perform CPR on a truck driver who ran into an espresso stand at Liberty Market Monday morning located north of Oak Harbor. - Tim Adams/Whidbey News-Times
Firefighters from North Whidbey Fire and Rescue along with paramedics perform CPR on a truck driver who ran into an espresso stand at Liberty Market Monday morning located north of Oak Harbor.
— image credit: Tim Adams/Whidbey News-Times

A 67-year-old truck driver was fatally injured Monday morning in a freak accident in the parking lot of Liberty Market on Highway 20 just north of Oak Harbor.

The Washington State Patrol reported that Robert E. Baer of Mill Creek was making a fuel delivery to the market at about 8:15 a.m. when the incident occurred.

Baer parked his 2005 Peterbuilt semi-truck, owned by Davis Industries, Inc., of Lynnwood, at the fuel pumps. The vehicle started to roll south across the parking lot and pinned him between the front bumper of the vehicle and the Jet Java espresso stand at the south end of the market’s parking lot.

Troopers stated in their report that Baer had apparently failed to set the parking brake on the vehicle.

Shawna West from Coupeville was working inside Jet Java making a cup of coffee for a customer at the time of the accident.

“The customer said ‘look out’ and I turned around and saw the truck,” she said. “The truck just kept rolling and rolling, and hit the side of the building.”

West was not injured.

Crews from North Whidbey Fire and Rescue and Navy Region Northwest Fire and Emergency Services, along with deputies from the Island County Sheriff’s Office and state troopers responded to the scene.

Rescue crews and paramedics performed CPR on the victim at the scene, and he was transported to Whidbey General Hospital by ambulance.

Baer was pronounced dead at the hospital.

The accident caused a small fuel leak from the truck. Firefighters from the Navy base had to bring extra absorbent spill material to clean it up.

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