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UPDATED: Anti-icer suspected as Jeep slides off roadway
Amanda Hanson and her husband got quite a shock after dinner on Saturday night.
The couple encountered a slick patch of black ice as she drove westbound on Highway 20 toward their Oak Harbor home after dining in Coupeville.
The 2001 Jeep Wrangler slid off the road and rolled before it landed right-side-up in the ditch. The airbags didn’t go off.
North Whidbey Fire and Rescue, Coupeville Town Marshal and Island County Sheriff deputies and an EMT unit responded to the scene.
“We started swerving and I couldn’t regain control,” she said several days after the accident. “We held onto each others hands and braced ourselves as we headed toward the ditch.”
The Hansons were transported to Whidbey General Hospital for precaution.
“We’re really, really sore and bruised,” Amanda said, adding that the soreness and bruising encompassed the full extent of their injuries.
Island County Sheriff’s Sgt. Rick Norrie spoke with the couple at the hospital, Hanson said, and told them that the roadway was recently treated with de-icer, which caused moisture to rise to the surface of the road, freeze over and form the layer of ice. Norrie did not return calls to the News-Times before press time.
WSDOT spokesman Dustin Terpening confirmed that anti-icer with BOOST was applied to that stretch of Highway 20 “Saturday evening after dark.” Anti-icer, also known as calcium chloride, is used before it snows or freezes and when the roads are dry and there’s no rain in the forecast, he said. The “boost” make the anti-icer more potent and prevents corrosion.
For the last week the weather on Whidbey has been frigid, with nighttime temperatures in the teens and daytime temperatures hovering around freezing.
WSDOT began using anti-icer on Highway 20 Dec. 2, when temperatures dipped into the low-thirties, according to Terpening. De-icer, a “sand, salt combo,” is used when there’s already snow and ice on the road, he said, although de-icer hasn’t been applied to Highway 20 yet this season.
The Island County Sheriff’s Office has no additional information on the incident at this time.
Terpening said the accident probably wasn’t cause by the anti-icer.
“People have been bringing this up for years,” he said. “We pay very close attention to making sure we’re adhering to the product recommendations and our own specs.”
Hanson’s still waiting to hear about the damage to her car, but the 2001 Jeep is probably totaled, she said.